Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Would You Like a Latte with Your FY 2006 Report?

I love Starbucks. I don't care about high quality coffee - my morning brew is Maxwell House Instant. What I love is the Starbucks company. My first impressions of them were that they do a brilliant job of selling community. They offer a sophisticated feeling, non-bar Third Place for the price of a few bucks for a drink. There are plenty of self-employed people like myself who like to have a place to go, even if it's just to read a newspaper. Then my brand-insensitive husband who cares about high quality coffee starting ADDING it to our shopping list. That got my attention.
In 2002 we traveled Edinburgh and I noticed a pattern. Every few blocks there was either a Clarks Shoestore, a kilt shop, or a Starbucks. When we got home from vacation, we bought SBUX stock. It's a bad day to brag about stock prices, but it's up about 50% since we bought it.
Unlike most of the annual reports we get, which go straight to the recycling (actually I'm not even sure if they're annual reports, I throw them away so fast), I quite enjoy the Starbucks publication. It is quite beautiful and focuses on their mission. They have a whole separate report on Corporate Social Responsibility. (They could be losing money, and I would not know, but I am well-informed about their environmental practices!) The 79 page number-crunchy report is printed as an inset pamphlet. All I read about it was "Form 10-K/A was printed on paper manufactured from 100% post-consumer waste fibers using Green-e certified renewable energy certificates." That's enough for me!
And how's this for a great touch? They include a gift certificate for 2 coffees at the Starbucks of your choice, and encourage stockholders to share their Starbucks stories.
My Starbucks story is that it's nice to feel good about a company and make money at the same time. And I do like Frappuccinos.

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