When is a Starbucks not a Starbucks?

Starbucks’ announcement last week that it plans to convert an existing Seattle site to the “15th Street Coffee and Tea” concept (including serving alcohol and providing more of a coffee-house vibe in the evenings), got a lot of attention. My comments on Retail Wire:

An interesting experiment: Maybe the company feels there is revenue potential selling alcoholic drinks (as well as coffee and tea) — which wouldn’t be in keeping with Starbucks’ brand image. Or perhaps this is a way to generate revenue outside of peak breakfast hours. But wasn’t a “community personality” part of Starbucks’ reason for being in the first place? Developing a new concept doesn’t address the fundamental problems with the core business.

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