updated - May 20, 2013 Monday EDT
By Zanub Saeed
Starbucks announced today that as part of its plan to expand its franchise, it will be opening its first tea-only store under the Tazo brand, which they already sell at chains worldwide, this fall, according to a new report from CNN.
The tea store will have 80 varieties of loose-leaf tea priced by the ounce, said CNN, and the store itself, at 1,700 square feet, will be located near the company's headquarters in Settle's University Village. The store will also have a blending station where the employees, called partners, will create personalized tea blends for customers should they want them, in either pouches to take out, or brew in the store.
"It's very much about personalization and interaction and immersing yourself in all-things tea," Holly Hart, a spokeswoman for Starbucks, told CNN. "It's not going to be the typical grab-and-go experience."
"If you think about going to wine tastings where you're standing up, sipping and talking about the flavor profile, that's what this store will look like," Hart continued. "You're not going to walk in, get your tea and leave. It's about the interaction, talking about the flavor and the blend of the tea."
Tazo was purchased by Starbucks in 1999 for $8.1 million, said CNN, and Hart stated that the brand was worth about $1.4 billion, as it is also sold at grocery stores and supermarkets, and not just exclusively at Starbucks stores. The company stated that they have no plans to open more tea-centric shops outside the one in Seattle, though it does plan to continue marketing the Tazo brand and letting it grow, said CNN.
"We see this brand living on its own. It's a brand that can live beyond the green dot," Hart told CNN. "The Tazo tea platform is uniquely set up for success and we're putting emphasis on how to elevate it.. The retail platform is the first place you'll see that."
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