The FINANCIAL — New York moves at fast pace – whether in the boroughs, in The Bowery or on Broadway. Manhattan nearly doubles its population every day as commuters make their way into the city, according to the most recent U.S. Census data, and in the Financial District thousands of people flow through the narrow streets. For New Yorkers, it’s essential to save time and move quickly.
That’s why just across from the New York Stock Exchange, Starbucks is opening its first-ever express format store at 14 Wall Street. Most Starbucks stores are designed in layers, integrating community gathering spaces, working environments and immersive coffee experiences, all in one location. This new express format store will be one of the most streamlined experiences in the company’s portfolio.
This pilot project is tailored for customers on-the-go who want high-quality Starbucks products in a beautiful environment, coupled with the efficiency that comes with knowing what they want, quickly. Simply put, this format is the “espresso shot” version of the store experience Starbucks is known for.
“This location on Wall Street was intentionally designed to take what’s at the heart of our cafés and distill that for a smaller space,” said Bill Sleeth, Starbucks vice president for Store Design. “It is the perfect example of how to balance high design, attention to detail and efficiency, while maintaining what is unique to who we are – our coffee and the connection between our customers and partners.”
A compact 538 square-foot location offered the team a unique challenge of maximizing the space while making sure customers had a fast, convenient experience.
Getting this right meant starting from the beginning where, upon entry, customers are greeted by a Starbucks partner (employee) who will be able to take orders with a handheld device. Creating mobile point-of-sale positions throughout the store can help manage wait times. That’s a solution first put into place at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle, and is now leveraged for this express format store.
Moving through the space, to the right of the entry, customers see a digital menu board displayed on four low-glare monitors. A set of menu options, tailored for New York customers, rotates on the screens. This display also serves as a form of art at night with glowing images of coffee farms shining through the front window, according to Starbucks.
“It was a small space so it was important that we keep it as open as possible,” said Starbucks senior architectural designer John Park. “The bar is low and kitchen framed wide, like a show kitchen, so our partners are able to interact with customers from every point in the space.”
Hanging above, where the menu would traditionally be, is artwork made from hot-rolled steel with a black patina finish and a laser-etched coffee tree design. Combined with the horizontal wood paneling on the walls and ceiling, this artistic focal point creates a sense of depth.
“We carefully considered every component from a design and environmental perspective. Not only have we created something beautiful but we have built it to our green building LEED standards,” said Park.
Evoking the History of Wall Street
The store is located on the ground floor of the Fourteen Wall Street Building, a registered New York landmark that took its place in the Manhattan skyline more than a century ago. The 32-story building first opened in 1912 as the headquarters of the Bankers Trust Company and was the largest bank building at the time. Its distinctive seven-story pyramid top inspired countless skyscraper designs for decades to come.
“For over a century, 14 Wall Street has been home to the most prominent members of the corporate world and leading retailers. We are located in the very heart of the New York Financial District. Our building’s rich history and its iconic architecture, combined with the energy of one of the most dynamic streets in the city, make 14 Wall Street a great venue for Starbucks new express store format. It is just a perfect match,” said Alex Rovt, the principal owner of 14 Wall Street.
This new Starbucks store is the latest example of the company evolving store formats to meet customer needs. The store joins a diverse portfolio of designs that include: the immersive experience of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room; Reserve locations; neighborhood cafés; strategic partnerships and stores that pay tribute to local history and culture. Similar to the express concept in creating a convenient experience for customers, Starbucks has also seen success with its drive-thru format. Drive-thru locations account for more than 40 percent of stores in the U.S. alone.
Starbucks plans to open four more express format stores in New York in 2015 as part of this pilot project. The company will continue to invest in New York, bringing experiences that evolve with the needs of the customer, notably with Mobile Order & Pay and a delivery pilot debuting in the city later this year. In addition, Starbucks will add 500 coffee-immersive Reserve bars worldwide serving rare, small-lot coffees, and will open another Roastery, in Asia, in 2016.