Starbucks is spreading its corporate empire to a country already known for the strength of its coffee.
After 43 years of roasting and selling Colombian coffee, Starbucks opened its first store in Bogota, fully aware that it will have to compete with a number of domestic chains in a country with one of the world's most vibrant coffee cultures. The new coffeehouse is bigger and more fancy than your typical Starbucks—the three-floored café has comfortable armchairs and elaborate wall art. The new branch will be the first anywhere to sell exclusively locally-sourced Starbucks coffee, the company said in a statement.
Starbucks “is looking to achieve a leadership position in the [Colombian] market,” said a statement by Nutresa, one of the two Latin American companies Starbucks is partnering with in the new venture.
The U.S. company's main competitor will be Juan Valdez, a multinational chain that also sells 100% Colombian coffee. Juan Valdez seems to welcome the competition, though; Alejadra Londono, head of international sales, told the New York Daily News that “there’s room in the market for us both."
Yet with Starbucks planning to open 50 stores in the market within the next five years, it remains to be seen whether Londono's assured words will stick.