There’s a little magic brewing at the corner of Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Starbucks recently opened a new store in the historic French Quarter, inspired by the city’s rich history as a coffee trading port and its unique artistic spirit. The store is the latest example of Starbucks ongoing approach to create locally relevant designs that honor the culture of the neighborhoods they serve.
For this new store on Canal Street, Starbucks designers went back in time, imagining what the space might look like if it had belonged to a Louisianan merchant in the early 1900s. The front room, where the merchant would have worked, features floor-to-ceiling shelves behind a large coffee bar, designed to resemble an old-fashioned apothecary store. Local sculptor David Borgerding built chandeliers from old wrought iron gates to honor the city’s mercantile roots. Another local artist Jason Horton created paintings of coffee beans on small block canvases that are on the shelves. Cherrylion Studios worked on the 12 block paintings above the bar to showcase the story of coffee from bean to cup, complimenting the special limited edition Starbucks Reserve® coffees available at this location. New Orleans-based Mystic Blue Signs created the hand painted gold leaf signs on the store windows and coffee jars.
In contrast, the back room of the store was designed to look like the merchant’s living space, offering a much more relaxed atmosphere. Vintage schoolhouse chairs around a 12 foot community table made from wind-fallen trees offer customers a comfortable place to work or connect with each other. A large mural in the back, by Atlanta-based artist Tommy Taylor, references the Starbucks siren and New Orleans’ shipping heritage. Hanging above the table is another statement chandelier by Borgerding, built with vintage horn instruments to recognize the city’s strong jazz roots.
New Orleans has been a special place for Starbucks since it opened its first store on Maple Street in 1998. The company hosted its Leadership Conference for 10,000 store managers and field leaders in New Orleans back in 2008 – its first time doing so outside Seattle. Following the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina, the Starbucks Foundation gave $5 million over five years for relief and recovery efforts, and many partners continue to volunteer with local organizations. The store on Canal Street reflects this history and ongoing commitment to New Orleans, with personalized touches such as black-and-white photographs capturing moments from when Starbucks partners volunteered in the city following Katrina.
Photography is by Matthew Glac
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