Few people realize that the owners of Peet’s once owned Starbucks and that the Starbucks we know today was created when Howard Shultz (Starbucks current Chairman, then a disgruntled executive) bought out the original Starbucks owners (who then purchased Peet’s) after a dispute as to whether or not to include espresso bars in their coffee bean stores.
I fell in love with Peet’s coffee when I lived in Silicon Valley from 1998 to 2002. To this day I have a couple pounds mail ordered to Canada every few weeks. Over many cups of Peet’s coffee, I took the following notes as I read Howard Shultz’s book – Pour Your Heart Into it: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time. It’s quite the interesting, intertwined history.
- Alfred Peet (pictured on the right) formed Peet’s in Berkley, California in 1966. (click here for more info on Alfred Peet)
- Originally Peet’s locations just sold beans – no drip coffee, latte’s etc.
- While attending college at Berkley, a Starbucks Founder (I forget his name, let’s call him "SF1") strolled by and bought some beans. SF1, a native of Seattle, fell in love with Peet’s beans.
- SF1 returned home after college and continued to purchase coffee from Peet’s by mail order (as I do today).
- SF1 enjoyed the beans so much that he decided to open a similar bean selling store, Starbucks, in Seattle with Starbucks Founder II ("SF2"). SF2 had ran a local Seattle Coffee shop prior to that point. [I note from this Wikipedia entry on Starbucks that there were three founders, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel and Gordon Bowker. I’m not sure which of these three were SF1 and SF2]