The FINANCIAL — The twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, just north of South America’s northern coast, is known for its peach sand, lush rainforests, and natural beauty. The steelpan drum was invented there in the 1930s, and its calypso sounds still fill the air. Gathering with friends to relax is a national pastime, known as “liming” in local slang.
Now Starbucks is opening its doors for the first time in the country with a new store in San Fernando on the island of Trinidad. The Starbucks® store in SouthPark offers customers an inviting destination to relax, unwind and connect in one of the area’s most popular neighborhoods.
Starbucks opened its first store in the Caribbean in 2002 in Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan and now operates in five Caribbean markets, including the Bahamas, Aruba and Curacao. Prestige Holdings Ltd., Trinidad’s leading restaurant management company, will exclusively own and operate Starbucks stores across the country. The company plans to open two additional locations this year. The opening in Trinidad and Tobago marks Starbucks 74th global market.
Designers created Starbucks first store in Trinidad to showcase the Starbucks brand and celebrate the Trini people and their culture. Unique artwork from local artists is featured throughout the 2,500-square-foot space. Artist Beverley Fitzwilliam Harries created a large painting using only coffee pigment. Her composition features a rich tropical landscape with people in the corner liming and enjoying coffee, Coffee plants dot the foreground and frame the view, according to Starbucks.
A steel column was used as a canvas for artist Gabriella D’Abreu, where she hand-drew the four fundamentals of brewing coffee. She artfully painted the words “The tireless pursuit of all things coffee” above the condiment area.
The palette and materials used in the space were kept as authentic as possible. Designers used natural light woods on the bar and set it against a dark tile backdrop, creating a stage for coffee theater. The store has an industrial quality reminiscent of Starbucks original store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, but a warm wood ceiling and wall cladding gives the space warmth and acoustic support. Soft seating, a large terrace and a generous banquette allows groups to sit and relax. On the exterior, metal planters with diagonal bracing and steel-bean framing pay homage to the local oil rigs off in the distance. Customers can also enjoy local flavors, such as a Caribbean-inspired pastry, Guava Cream Cheese Croissant Blossom, made with traditional flavors of guava and cream cheese.
“We are delighted to open our first store in the beautiful country of Trinidad and Tobago,” said Ricardo Rico, Starbucks vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, who attended the opening celebrations in San Fernando. “Our Starbucks partners wearing the iconic green apron are ready to welcome customers to Trinidad’s first Starbucks store and share our deep passion and knowledge of some of the finest coffees from around the world.”
Starbucks is also launching a community service initiative with the local Gifts for Life Foundation to benefit San Fernando’s Hope Centre Children’s Home. Starbucks Trinidad partners participated in a community service project at Hope Centre earlier this month, helping with youth activities and revitalization projects. Starbucks Trinidad plans to host additional events in the months ahead.