Everybody's favorite Crazy Uncle, Howard Schultz, is back at it.
Today he announced that Starbucks would close its Teavana super-stores. Except the one at University Village. But the rest, three in Noo Yawk and one in Beverly Hills, dunzo. When Teavana opened, barely two years ago, Schultz admitted he'd paid about $620 million for the chain, most of whose stores sell tea in bulk.
It's been a busy week. One of Starbucks biggest suppliers, Keurig, has been sold. Just as well, perhaps. But somebody still has to provide the (wretchedly unfriendly-to-the-environment) K-Cups. "No problem, we'll go it alone," said Schultz.
The cold-pressed juice revolution Schultz was touting less than four years ago? He had Starbucks buy a company called Evolution Fresh for something like $50 million. So far, no national roll-out; just three stores.
Remember La Boulange? The French baker who had figured out how to make tasty pastries on a large scale and warm them up just when you bought them? About $100 million, if I recall correctly. G-gone.
Remember that whey-powder drink called Vivano? Vaguely. Remember "Race Matters"? The less said, the better. Remember Starbucks movies? Starbucks music? Remember Danone yogurts? Big push with the Frenchies, but I don't think the product even made it into the stores. Remember whatever Starbucks was calling its water?
We won't even talk about Flat White, Latte Macchiato, Starbucks wine nights, or the upscale Roastery on Capitol Hill (with pizza by Tom Douglas, no less). It's one thing to put up with the moodiness of teenager, but this crazy corporate conduct is unprecedented.
How much longer will the SBUX board of directors put up with this schizoid, ADD-addled guy? A lot of Seattle people still haven't forgiven Uncle Howard for selling the Sonics. They're the lucky ones.