Our Founders

We’ve come a long way since our original store opened in 1971, but our founders’ vision is still alive and well. Friends since their University of San Francisco days, Gerald Baldwin, a former English teacher, Gordon Bowker, a writer, and Zev Siegl, a history teacher, were three 20-somethings who were passionate about the arts, fine food, good wine and, of course, great coffee. They started Starbucks because they wanted Seattle to have access to the delicious dark-roasted coffee that they loved – but had to go out of town to find.

Investing $1,350 apiece and borrowing $5,000 from a bank, they took a name from classic literature and opened our first store on Mar. 30, 1971. Under the watchful gaze of an enigmatic mythological figure, Siegl scooped beans for customers; in the beginning, he was the only paid employee. The others kept their day jobs.



Our founders establish Starbucks.

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