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article imageStarbucks to open specialty tea-only store this fall

By Leigh Goessl     Jun 21, 2012 in Business
Seattle - Starbucks has unveiled plans to open a tea-only store in October. The coffee giant has hopes of establishing a standard for tea the way it has with coffee.
The company plans to open its new Tazo tea store in Oct. 2012 in University Village, an area of Seattle, Wash., reported The Seattle Times.
Starbucks had purchased Tazo back in 1999, but this will be the first store opened. The coffee king, which is rapidly branching out over the last couple of years, is looking to revolutionize tea under the Tazo brand.
"We want to raise customer expectations for tea the same way Starbucks did for coffee," said Charlie Cain, a vice president with Tazo, reported The Seattle Times.
In recent years, Starbucks has been launching new strategies and testing different markets. In 2010, the company launched its Starbucks Digital Network (SDN). Later, beer and wine became an offering in select areas, and soon afterward, opened a juice bar with its Evolution Fresh brand. At the moment, Starbucks is focusing on its Tazo, Evolution Fresh, and Seattle's Best Coffee brands.
The new Tazo tea store will offer a variety of teas, 80 loose-tea varieties to be exact, and will also include hot and iced drinks and lattes. Additionally, customers can create their own flavor of teas at the store's blending station. The stations, noted Starbucks, will be the "differentiating factor" in the tea market.
According to Bloomberg, Holly Hart, a Starbucks' spokesperson, said the tea will be priced by the ounce.
Tazo is currently sold in other stores and makes a healthy $1.4 billion annually in sales, but Starbucks "sees more potential". At this point there are no plans to open beyond the one store, but the chain isn't ruling the idea out.
Hart said, “if we see another opportunity where a location is the right fit," additional stores may be considered.
“We see Tazo as fitting into our emerging brands portfolio," Hart said in the interview with Bloomberg. “We see it as a huge potential and a multi-channel opportunity.”
Tazo will also sell baked goods and packaged chocolates.
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