Starbucks Coffee Company celebrated the opening of its first coffeehouse in Prague on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008. The store is situated in the heart of the Czech capital city, in the Palác Grömlingovský building on Malostranske namesti 28.
“Starbucks takes great pride in announcing it has carefully and thoughtfully rehabilitated the Palác Grömlingovský retail location and returned it to its historic use as a coffeehouse and gathering place for the local community,” said Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks Europe, Middle East, and Africa. “We are thrilled to welcome the people of Prague back to the Palác Grömlingovský to enjoy Starbucks finest coffees in the location they have known and loved for years.”
“Many steps have been taken to ensure that the physical space was restored respecting its original architectural features,” said Jakub Strestik, operations director for Starbucks Czech Republic. The 270 square meter location was originally established as a coffeehouse in 1874 and it remained a destination for local literati, scholars and neighbors for decades. The renovation includes restoration of the original flooring, use of recommended paint color palettes, maintenance of all existing windows, and design and installation of subdued exterior signage in keeping with the ambience of the town square. Starbucks will also introduce programming at this store that will allow customers to enjoy include book readings, book releases, and other arts and literature related events.
Becoming Part of the Fabric of the Local Community
Coinciding with the opening of its first store in the Czech Republic, Starbucks is honored to announce a partnership with Uhelny Trh Elementary School in Prague 1. “We are excited to further become a part of the community by lending assistance with the restoration of the reading room, and collecting books for the school among other things, said Strestik. “Most importantly, our partners (employees) will also become personally involved in hosting ‘living library’ events for the students, where they will lead language lessons and share life experiences becoming a motivating factor in communicating the value of education, literacy and literature. Our commitment to support the local community is long term, and this is the first of many relationships we will develop and nurture as we grow.”
Prague as Gateway to Central and Eastern Europe
At the heart of Central Europe, the Czech Republic is a gateway market for Starbucks as it starts its expansion into the territories of Central and Eastern Europe in earnest. “We opened our first store in Bucharest in May of last year followed by two stores in Moscow, and our customers have given us a warm welcome,” commented Burrows. “We look forward to continued expansion into Poland and Hungary as we bring the Starbucks Experience to these promising regions that have such a long history in the coffeehouse tradition.” Starbucks currently has more than 1250 stores operating in 24 countries throughout the region of Europe, Middle East and Africa.