Looking for the original Starbucks in Seattle, Ruth and Jim and I asked for help. Those who gave us directions all said after telling us where it was, “You can’t miss it because it’s always crowded.” It was late afternoon and the people who helped us locate it at 1912 Pike Place were right. It was crowded.
In 1971, 3 friends from the University of San Francisco opened a coffee house near Pike Market, which is still Seattle’s #1 tourist attraction. It was actually their 2nd store. The place that says it’s Starbuck’s first store because its 1st location moved there, has kept its early look during renovations, but you can still see the original hardwood floor. The brass labels that were on bulk coffee bins are still around. It’s still the only stand-alone Starbucks that does not sell food items. Pork n’ Beans still stands over its door.
Pork n’ Beans is a sculpture created for the Pigs on Parade competition in 2001. He’s wrapped in burlap like a bag of coffee beans and appears to be standing guard. His first job was to raise money for the Pike Market Foundation. The founders were interested in nautical mythology. This inspired the mermaid/siren who, despite controversy, still represents the company.
This was the 1st of what has become far more than 20,000 Starbucks locations throughout the world. Ruth and I had Starbucks coffee in Shanghai, China. The location in a small mall across the street from where we stayed looked like any other Starbucks. It was kind of disorienting to be drinking coffee there as if we were in Seattle. If you go to the 1st one there, prepare to wait in line to get in.