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2006-04-10 08:50:53

Magic of Starbucks At Baha Mar

What's unusual, though, about the newest Starbucks is that it is a 24-hour operation.

The magic of Starbucks coffee has reached the Cable Beach Resorts with a new store in the Crystal Palace casino, bringing to three the number of Starbucks locations in The Bahamas.

What's unusual, though, about the newest Starbucks is that it is a 24-hour operation.

"We're excited," said Inga Bowleg, director of business development of the John Bull Group of Companies and Coffee Cay Ltd. "We're proud that we can say in The Bahamas since August, in less than a year, we've opened three stores."

One store is located downtown across from the Prince George Wharf and the other is located at Marina Village at Atlantis.

Ms. Bowleg said Baha Mar is a great organization and John Bull and Coffee Cay Ltd. are proud to partner with Baha Mar, which is developing a billion dollar property.

"We're on number three and we're going to keep going," she added. "What's next? Who knows? The sky is the limit when it comes down to such an awesome brand. Look for more stores; we're not going to stop here; that's for sure."

She did reveal that Starbucks plans to open its fourth store in Palmdale in the summer to reach more coffee lovers.

Asked whether it was safe to say that Starbucks has been extremely profitable, Ms. Bowleg responded, "We can certainly say that it has met our expectations. Starbucks is a world renowned brand and we didn't think the Bahamian public would let us down."

In a country where many people are tea drinkers and not coffee drinkers, she said the response has been amazing.

"We've finally gotten them to come out of the closet and they are very much coffee drinkers," Ms. Bowleg added. "They've been supporting the brand and we look forward to their continued patronage and our future growth will be dependant on the Bahamian public."

Starbucks Managing Director J. R. Boisclair said the biggest surprise the coffee chain has had so far in The Bahamas is the warm reception it has received from Bahamians.

"Initially, we knew that we would have a challenge given that the Bahamas doesn't have a coffee culture," Mr. Boisclair said at the opening of the latest store on Thursday night. "However, what we found is that the environment of our stores and the qualify of our product have been bringing in Bahamians in good numbers. It has been very encouraging."

Starbucks has stores in 37 countries, not including the United States.

Just recently, Starbucks Corporation, which is listed on Nasdaq, reported consolidated net revenues of $743 million for the five-week period ended April 2, 2006, an increase of 24 percent from consolidated net revenues of $599 million for the same five-week period in fiscal 2005. On a comparable store sales basis (stores open for at least 13 months), sales at Company-operated stores increased 10 percent for the five weeks ended April 2, 2006, as compared to the same five-week period in fiscal 2005.

"Starbucks strong March comparable store sales reflect the popularity of both our seasonal espresso beverage offerings and core handcrafted beverages," commented Jim Donald, Starbucks president and chief executive officer.

"In addition, the successful execution of our Annual Brewing Event, which began nine days earlier than last year, brought customers to our stores and contributed to our strong March revenue results. The timing shift of the Easter holiday was a positive contributor to our revenue growth in March."

By: Candia Dames, The Bahama Journal

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