Starbucks celebrates 40th anniversary with streamlined logo


by Associated Press and KING 5 News

Posted on March 8, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 8 at 7:18 PM

SEATTLE -  Starbucks customers saw something new Tuesday when they sipped their coffee.

The Seattle-based company rolled out its new words-free logo Tuesday on all its cups. Signs also changed at a handful of stores, and the new logo will show up on more storefronts in the future.

The Associated Press first reported in January that Starbucks was updating its logo and would introduce it this month in conjunction with its 40-year anniversary.

The logo was officially unveiled Tuesday at the company's Seattle headquarters.

Mary Ann Odegaard, director of the University of Washington's retail management program, believes Starbucks has drastically changed the food retail business.

"We went from a culture that drank mediocre, weak coffee to one that's picky and concerned," Odegaard told KING 5 News.

It is not hard to find Starbucks junkies, like Kimlony Thav, who visits her local Starbucks on a daily basis.  Right now, her drink of choice is a tall soy latte, extra hot with no foam.

"It definitely affects my mood in a good way," Thav told KING 5 News.  "If I feel like I'm having a bad day, I'll go for coffee.  If I feel like I'm having a great day, I'll go for coffee."

Starbucks on Tuesday also introduced a number of new coffee flavors and baked goods as part of the anniversary celebration. In addition, Starbucks said Tuesday it plans to roll out its Via instant coffee in China starting in April, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The new products include a cocoa cappuccino, a new coffee blend and a new line of small dessert treats called Starbucks Petites. They include mini cupcakes and "cake pops," small sweets on a stick.

The new logo, which drops the words "Starbucks Coffee," is better suited to the company's expansion beyond coffee and cafes into a wider array of products sold at other retailers and into more international markets, the company says.

This is the fourth version of Starbucks' logo since the company's beginnings as a small coffee, tea and spice shop in Seattle in 1971. The first update came in 1987, taking the original siren in brown to a more stylized version in green as the company began to expand. The image was further refined in the 1990s as the company went public and its growth soared.

Starbucks eventually suffered from its own success. It grew too far, too fast. After the recession hit in 2007, its sales were hurting. Starbucks brought back founder Schultz to lead daily operations in 2008, closed hundreds of stores and cut jobs.

Since then, it has allowed customers to customize drinks more, opened stores with more local flavor, increased its Wi-Fi offerings and launched a rewards program.

Its sales have rebounded and its fiscal 2010 profit was more than double what it earned in 2009.