StarbucksAll this week I have been on a bit of a coffee binge. You see, I pretty much gave up coffee a few months back and switched to tea. I did it because tea is supposed to be healthier for you than coffee. It wasn’t that I felt I was drinking too much, or had health problems; I just thought it would be a healthier choice and help me to maintain my “relaxed state” after my morning yoga. I love the taste of coffee though, so even when I wasn’t drinking it as my morning beverage, I would still have a cup every now and then.

Anyway, this week I got the hankering for the taste of coffee, so I was stopping by my local Starbucks every morning on my way to my client site visits. I would order a doppio (aka double) espresso and a Venti (aka large) Coffee Of The Day. I joked one day with the Barista that I was ordering the coffee equivalent of a shot of tequila with a beer chaser. 😛 I would drink the espresso immediately and then sip the drip coffee the rest of the day after it cooled off for about 20 minutes. I find their drip coffee too freaking hot when it’s first handed to me, but that’s another story.

Today I spent the better part of the morning in the office digging out of a few inbox “holes,” so I had my usual Green tea instead. By late afternoon I was finding that I missed the coffee fix that I had enjoyed the previous three days. So, after my last site visit of the day, I decided to stop by a nearby Starbucks and get a little remote work done and treat myself to a little coffee. In fact, I’m typing this entry on my Alphasmart Dana out on the patio at the Thoroughbred Starbucks location enjoying a Tall (aka small) Columbian blend having just finished my doppio espresso. I’m also enjoying a wonderful Don Tomas Dominican Selection box pressed cigar as well. And hell, since I’m digressing already, I should also mention that the sun is low on the horizon and there’s a light breeze that is making the end of the day feel like heaven. The temperature is in the 60’s and I feel like I could just sit here forever. It’s the perfect outdoor cafe evening as I look out on the Tennessee hills nearby and vintage jazz wafts from the outdoor speakers.

But I had a point didn’t I???

This isn’t my usual Starbucks, so I seemed to pay a little extra attention when I entered the coffee shop. It’s kind of like when you go to a McDonalds in a foreign country just to see if it looks any different. Anyway, everything looked pretty much the same (doesn’t it always?), but I did notice a plaque mounted somewhat inauspiciously on the wall behind the counter. It read “The Starbucks Millionaires Club.” That sign isn’t in my Starbucks, so I asked the Barista what it meant. Sheepishly, she said “I think it means that we had like a million dollars in sales our first year or something.” I responded with the appropriate “Wow” and then followed up with “Hard to believe that there could be a million dollars in coffee in one store.” That comment seemed to bring her out of her humility and give her a shot of pride in the arm, because she then said “Yeah! We’re the top grossing store in our division.”

So, as I sit here sipping my coffee and puffing on my cigar, I’m still amazed that this one little store could generate over $1,000,000 in sales in one year. It’s the retail equivalent of striking oil. When Holly and I first moved here, this area where I’m sitting was nothing but a field. Five years later, there’s a multiplex theatre, an Office Depot, several large clothing stores and at least a dozen restaurants. Restaurants like P. F. Changs, Atlanta Bread Company, Wolfgang Puck and Carrabbas. Of course this location is also in the center of yuppie-ville for South Nashville, so it wasn’t a complete shot in the dark that a retail location would do well here. But if there’s a million dollars just in coffee, it makes you think about how much is being spent at the movie theatre, or at Kinko’s, or at any of the other hundred retail outlets. It boggles the mind.