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Starbucks and Latin America: a perfect match


Panama City -- Starbucks Coffee Company has entered its 15th Latin America market.

The coffee giant — together with Premium Restaurants of America, its long-term strategic licensing partner in Central America — has opened its first store in Panama, making it Starbucks 15th market in Latin America and 67th worldwide.

“We are proud to bring the Starbucks Experience to customers in Panama and build our brand in a way that honors the coffee passion and traditions inherent to this region,” said Rich Nelsen, senior VP and general manager for Starbucks in Latin America, where the company now has more than 880 stores employing over 12,000.

Starbucks’ Latin America design team transformed the 3,304-sq.-ft. space into a celebration of the Starbucks coffee journey, from its first location in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, as highlighted in the store’s artwork, to Panama’s Paso Ancho and Los Cantares coffee-growing regions in the Volcán Chiriquí Valley, which are depicted across a large hand-painted mural on a locally sourced, wood-clad wall.

With a 28-ft. high ceiling, the focal point of the store, is a one-of-a-kind custom made hanging mobile, designed to represent the Geisha coffee plant, which signifies the birth of the coffee industry in Panama. The store is dotted with beautiful images of Panama’s coffee farms and also features tile work resembling a hand painted style unique to the local culture. Starbucks also incorporated design elements from neighboring regions, including furniture from Colombia and wood slatted light fixtures from Brazil.

“Latin America has been part of Starbucks story from the very beginning,” said Scott Mitchem, Starbucks director of design for Latin America. “Our store designs pay tribute to the region’s heritage and culture by working with local inspirations, artists and designers. We wanted to bring that same passion to the design of our first store in Panama.”

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