Starbucks: A Company with Soul
Howard Schultz grew up poor in the 1950s in a housing project in Brooklyn. When his father broke his leg at work, he received no benefits, and the family became even poorer. “I saw the fracturing of the American dream firsthand at the age of seven,” recalls Howard. A football scholarship served as his exit visa, and he became the first college graduate in his family.
While working at a kitchenware company, Howard became curious about a small coffee bean retailer that was ordering large numbers of coffeemakers, so he decided to fly to Seattle and pay it a visit. “I stepped inside and saw what looked like a temple for the worship of coffee,” he remembers. The store, which was founded in 1971 by three aging hippies, was called Starbucks, after the coffee-drinking first mate in Moby-Dick. Howard convinced the owners to hire him as a manager, and moved his family to Seattle.
On a trip to Italy in 1983, Howard had his first café latte, and his eureka moment: Starbucks needed to expand from selling beans to serving exotic coffees in an inviting environment. But the owners didn’t agree, so he left to open his own café. When Starbucks was put up for sale in 1987, Howard bought it and combined the two businesses. Another turning point came when his father passed away. Not wanting his employees to be treated like his father had been, he began providing full benefits, including health insurance for part-time workers. This may be expensive, but Howard can afford it—he’s now worth over a billion dollars, and Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world.
scholarship (n.) 獎學金
exotic (a.) 異國（風味）的，奇特的
inviting (a.) 吸引人的，誘人的
pass away (phr.) 過世
insurance (n.) 保險