Headquartered in Washington, Starbucks was a regional coffee company that turned into the world’s top coffee brand and has undergone a major expansion from 11 stores to more than 34,000 under the leadership of Schultz
Howard Schultz, the Co-founder of Schultz Family Foundation, is better known for his years as the CEO/Chairman of Starbucks as it was he who wrote the success story of the American multinational chain of coffeehouses. He has a net worth of USD 3.8 billion and has written around 4 books that share his entrepreneurial journey as a businessman, how he grew the coffee company of Starbucks into a worldwide top brand, and about his learnings from life.
Headquartered in Washington, Starbucks was a regional coffee company that turned into the world’s top coffee brand and has undergone a major expansion from 11 stores to more than 34,000 under the leadership of Schultz. He also founded the Schultz Family Foundation that intends to create opportunities for people facing barriers to success, focusing on youth transitioning to adulthood and marginalized populations, including people of Colour.
Schultz was born in 1953, in Brooklyn, New York, to Fred and Elaine Schultz. Like many Americans, his ancestors were also immigrants and his great grandfathers worked as tailors and barrel makers. Neither of his parents finished high school and his father worked in low-paying labour jobs after returning from World War II. He grew up having a rather complicated relationship with his father and his favourite memory with him was watching their hero Mickey Mantle play baseball at Yankee Stadium. It was Schultz’s mother who gave him the confidence to believe that he was capable of building a better life of his own.
He initially saw football as a potential path but his idea of getting a scholarship at Northern Michigan University, as a sports student, never materialized. Instead, he stayed at NMU and paid his way through school with student loans and part-time jobs. Tougher times also arrived when he chose to sell his blood for money. He became the first graduate of his family in 1975.
Schultz got the first job as a salesman and he used to sell equipment from door to door. Later on, he joined a European company that made housewares. While working with this company, he met the customer who owned the small coffee company in Seattle, Washington, named Starbucks. Within a year after joining Starbucks in 1982, he was heading up marketing for Starbucks and had moved to Seattle with my wife, Sheri.
In 1983, Howard travelled to Italy and became captivated with Italian coffee bars and the romance of the coffee experience. He had a vision to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition to America. He wanted to create a place for human connection, conversation and one that fostered a sense of community — a third place between work and home. He left Starbucks for a short period of time to start his own Il Giornale coffeehouses and returned in August 1987 as CEO to purchase Starbucks with the help of local investors.
After growing the company to more than 3,000 stores and opening its first stores in Japan, China and Europe, Howard stepped down from the CEO role in 2000 to focus on international expansion as global chief strategist and chairman. He returned in January 2008 as CEO to lead the transformation of the company, bringing the company to sustainable, profitable growth with a renewed focus on Starbucks coffee heritage, innovation and the customer experience. Over the decade, Starbucks grew from 15,000 stores to nearly 30,000.
Starbucks is even more dominant now than what it was earlier. Today, Starbucks has more than 34,300 stores in 80 countries. The chain reported net revenues of USD 29.1 billion in 2021, and the company’s market cap is roughly USD 90 billion.