Our First Store in Chicago

In 1987, after Il Giornale acquired Starbucks, we opened our first store outside of the Pacific Northwest. We thought Chicago would be the right place to start our expansion. It had a large downtown area and neighborhoods that needed local gathering places. Plus, it was cold – people would want to drink hot coffee.

But there were obstacles. We were small, and Chicago was 2,000 miles from Seattle – it would be hard to supply the new store with fresh-roasted coffee. The first store opened on Oct. 19, and three more followed soon after.

But we lost money in Chicago – lots of it – until 1990, when a retail expert joined our crew. And a critical mass of Chicagoans began to love dark-roasted coffee. At last, we were on our way to becoming a national company – and in 2019 celebrated our connection to the Windy City with the opening of the Chicago Roastery.



Our first store in Chicago opens.

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