Starbucks was founded in 1971 by Gordon Bowker, Jerry Baldwin, and Zev Siegl as a store that sold bulk coffee beans, tea, and spices. Howard Schultz first walked into the store in 1981. He left Starbucks (the bulk bean store) to open a coffee bar, Il Gornale, in 1986. It wasn’t until 1987 that Il Gornale acquired the Starbucks stores and reinvented them as coffee houses:
16 years to develop the business model.
The company expanded rapidly from there. Still, another
five years to IPO with 165 stores (1992)
four years to reach 1,000 stores. (1996)
nine years to reach 10,000 stores (2005)
With another decade, the company mastered social media, but risks buckling under its own popularity. The original business model that initially disrupted an industry, however, took decades to develop and scale.