Howard Schultz joins Starbucks in 1982. While on a business trip in Italy, he visits Milans famous espresso bars. Impressed with their popularity and culture, he sees their potential in Seattle. Hes right after trying lattes and mochas, Seattle quickly becomes coffee-crazy.But back in Seattle, the Starbucks owners resisted Schultzs plans to serve coffee in the stores, saying they didnt want to get into the restaurant business. Frustrated, Schultz quit and started his own coffee-bar business, called Il Giornale. It was successful, and a year later Schultz bought Starbucks for $3.8 million. In 1998 Howard Schultz had ample reason to be proud of what Starbucks had accomplished during his past 11 years as the companys CEO. The company had enjoyed phenomenal growth and become one of the great retailing stories of recent history by making exceptional coffee drinks and selling dark-roasted coffee beans and coffee-making equipment that would allow customers to brew an exceptional cup of coffee at home.
The Starbucks brand was regarded as one of the best known and most potent brand names in America and the company had firmly established itself as the dominant retailer, roaster, and brand of specialty coffee in North America. It already had over 1,500 stores in North America and the Pacific Rim and was opening new ones at a rate of more than one per day. Sales in fiscal year 1997 were a record $967 million and profits reached an all-time high of $57.4 million. The companys closest competitor had fewer than 300 retail locations. And since going public in 1992, Starbucks has seen its stock price increase nearly nine fold. He is best known as the chairman and CEO of Starbucks and a former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics. Schultz co-founded Maveron, an investment group, in 1998 with Dan Levitan. In 2012, Forbes magazine ranked Schultz as the 354th richest person in the United States, with a net worth of $1.5 billion.