The first Starbucks was opened in Seattle, Washington, on March 30, 1971 by three partners: English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegl, and writer Gordon Bowker. The three were inspired by entrepreneur Alfred Peet (whom they knew personally) to sell high-quality coffee beans and equipment. The name is taken from Moby-Dick; after Pequod was rejected by one of the co-founders, the company was named for the first mate on the Pequod, Starbuck.
The Starbucks store at 1912 Pike Place. This is the second location of the original Starbucks, which was at 2000 Western Avenue from 1971 to 1976.
From 1971–1976, the first Starbucks was at 2000 Western Avenue; it then was relocated to 1912 Pike Place, where it remains to this day. During their first year of operation, they purchased green coffee beans from Peet’s, then began buying directly from growers.
Entrepreneur Howard Schultz joined the company in 1982 as Director of Retail Operations and Marketing, and after a trip to Milan, Italy advised that the company should sell coffee and espresso drinks as well as beans. The owners rejected this idea, believing that getting into the beverage business would distract the company from its primary focus. To them, coffee was something to be prepared in the home, but they did give away free samples of pre-made drinks. Certain that there was money to be made selling pre-made drinks, Schultz started the Il Giornale coffee bar chain in April 1986.
In 1984, the original owners of Starbucks, led by Baldwin, took the opportunity to purchase Peet’s (Baldwin still works there).