Starbucks Coffee Company announced a partnership to open the first Starbucks store in Italy. Percassi, confirmed as Starbucks licensee in Italy, will own and operate Starbucks stores, with the first store opening in Milan in early 2017.

Today’s announcement is especially significant for Starbucks Coffee Company chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. Thirty-three years ago, Schultz took his first business trip to Milan and Verona, a journey that changed his life forever. Inspired by the craftsmanship of the Milanese barista, the spirit of the Italian people, their passion for community, their friendliness, and taste for quality, Schultz’s vision for Starbucks began to take root.

“Starbucks history is directly linked to the way the Italians created and executed the perfect shot of espresso. Everything that we’ve done sits on the foundation of those wonderful experiences that many of us have had in Italy, and we’ve aspired to be a respectful steward of that legacy for 45 years,” Schultz says. “Now we’re going to try, with great humility and respect, to share what we’ve been doing and what we’ve learned through our first retail presence in Italy. Our first store will be designed with painstaking detail and great respect for the Italian people and coffee culture. And, my hope is that we will create a sense of pride for our partners—so much so that every partner who sees our store or walks through the doors will say, ‘We got it right.’”

Working together with Percassi, Starbucks chosen partner in Italy, the company’s retail stores will be developed in cities across the country, beginning with the first store in Milan. Percassi, the licensee, is a renowned Italian company with a proven track record of operating highly successful major brand partnerships across Italy. The company shares Starbucks values and passion for the history and cultural heritage of Italy and will combine local expertise with demonstrated business success to make every single store an exciting, unique experience for new Italian customers. Starbucks is expected to open its first Italian store in Milan in early 2017.

"We know that we are going to face a unique challenge with the opening of the first Starbucks store in Italy, the country of coffee, and we are confident that Italian people are ready to live the Starbucks experience, as already occurs in many other markets," says Antonio Percassi, president of the company Percassi.

Starbucks and Percassi share common values and a commitment to creating pathways to youth opportunities and employment in communities right across Italy. Starbucks will partner with Percassi to support local projects our store partners love to work with around the world.

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