The Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting welcoming the new Starbucks to Santa Paula

Santa Paula welcomes Starbucks
to Palm Avenue location

May 30, 2014
Santa Paula News

The twin-tailed mermaid, or siren as she’s known in Greek mythology, was a femme fatale who lured nearby sailors with her enchanting music and voice to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. 

But the mermaid shown on the tall sign on South Palm Avenue was luring passersby on Highway 126 for a treat at the new Starbucks, where the coffee was hot - or iced - and the crowd huge for its May 23 opening.

Economic Development Advisory Committee Chairperson Connie Tushla - who had a packaged salad she was eager to take home to try - was enthusiastic about Starbucks opening in Santa Paula. 

“I was told it’s been seeing nonstop business since its soft-opening yesterday,” said Tushla, who noted the popular business will serve area residents as well as Highway 126 commuters alike. 

Elected and Chamber of Commerce officials were also on hand for the grand opening that featured a concert by the Santa Paula High School Band and songs from the Isbell Middle School Condor Chorus.

“We’re so excited to be here!” said Starbucks Manager Joanna Gaeta. “We wanted to get the community here... and the best way to get the community is to get involved. 

“We are now,” noted Gaeta as the SPHS Band and Drill Team performed, “Santa Paula Cardinals!” 

Starbucks has already contacted the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley, joined the Chamber of Commerce and will be working with local schools.

Gaeta said the latter reflects the company’s desire to, “Really target education and youth! Eventually, where we want to make the biggest impact is for the youth of Santa Paula.”

Founded in Seattle, WA in 1971, Starbucks is now the largest coffee company and coffeehouse chain in the world: Starbucks Regional Manager Charlie Utter said although “I think Santa Paula is number 82 in the region,” he admitted he wasn’t sure about the exact number of stores companywide, easy to understand as since 1987, Starbucks has opened on average two new stores each day.

One thing Utter was sure of: “This the most exciting grand opening I’ve ever seen... Santa Paula is a small community and Starbucks wants to be a part of the community,” and community service is a company hallmark.

Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with an estimated 23,187 stores in 64 countries, including 12,973 in the United States, 1,897 in China, 1,550 in Canada, 1,088 in Japan and 927 in the United Kingdom, numbers that will have increased by the time this story goes to press.

“We want to use our size for good,” said Utter.

The ordering traffic was nonstop including those who examined “The Wall of Chill” prepackaged salads and sandwiches among other offerings at the store that reflect “A lot of emphasis on health and wellness,” that includes the Starbucks acquired Evolution Fresh line of juices and snacks.

The store opened with 30 “partners” as employees are called, a mix of full- and part-time workers that will change as volume demands.

For now volume is very high indeed: Maria Bombara of Santa Paula was waiting on her Valencia Orange Refresher, a blend of citrus and green coffee extract, “My favorite,” said Bombara.

Margarete Olivas and Rita Cheek were enjoying a cool drink on the seated patio outside the store.

“I like it,” Olivas said of the new Starbucks, “it’s nice... and I love the patio.”

Cheek was equally enthusiastic, noting with a laugh, “We will love to come here after our workout at CURVES!”

According to the company website the Starbucks name was inspired by a minor character in “Moby-Dick” and “evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders.”

Starbucks, located at 310 S. Palm Ave., will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Starbucks located inside Vons Market is still open.

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