In 1981, Howard Schultz walked into the Pike Place store and was swept into a new world from his very first sip of Sumatra.
That moment began the journey of a lifetime, taking us from whole-bean retailer to community coffeehouse. It was his upbringing in the housing projects of Brooklyn, New York, that informed our culture of compassion and opportunity. It was his dedication to quality coffee that pushed us to the forefront of a movement to protect it.
Howard was also instrumental in redefining for the world what a for-profit company can do. How it can support at-risk communities. How it can prioritize sustainability (without sacrificing style). How it can recover from its own missteps. How it can stand up for what it believes in.
When Howard retired in 2018, after four decades as our ceo and chairman, he left behind an indelible imprint not only on our company but on the business world itself.