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Schultz, Howard

SCHULTZ, HOWARD

SCHULTZ, HOWARD (1953– ), U.S. entrepreneur. Born and reared in Brooklyn, n.y., Schultz won a football scholarship to Northern Michigan University and graduated in 1975 with a major in communications. He had a variety of jobs and in 1981 traveled to Seattle to inspect a coffee bean store called Starbucks that had been buying many of the Hammarplast Swedish drip coffeemakers he was selling. After being hired by Starbucks, he became its director of marketing and operations in 1982. In Italy, Schultz discovered that coffee bars existed on practically every block and served as meeting places. The Starbucks owners resisted Schultz's plans to serve coffee in the stores, so Schultz quit and started his own coffee-bar business. It was an instant success, and a year later Schultz bought Starbucks for $3.8 million. The company began to expand rapidly in the 1990s, and Schultz introduced his customers to espresso drinks, café latte, and the frappuccino. Schultz did not pay his employees much, but he gave them comprehensive health coverage, including benefits for unmarried spouses. These moves increased loyalty. Starbucks went public in 1992 and grew at a rate of 25 to 35 percent a year. By the early 21st century the company had almost 4,000 stores in 25 countries, serving 15 million people a week. In 2000 Schultz bought the Seattle Supersonics professional basketball team, and he also owned the Seattle Storm in the women's professional league. He was also a significant stakeholder in Jamba Juice. Although he was a fervent supporter of Israel, Schultz did not have success with his Starbucks investment in Israel. All six coffeehouses in Tel Aviv closed in 2003.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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