Starbucks Sets Up Shop In Coffee Heartland, Colombia
El Espectador

BOGOTA — Call it the South American version of selling ice to eskimos: Starbucks is opening its first store in Colombia on July 16. The shop marks the start of the American coffee giant's operations in a country that grows and produces lots of its own brew, and already has a strong, local but international, coffee brand, Juan Valdéz.

In fact, Starbucks plans to open its first store right next door to Juan Valdéz in the Parque 93 shopping and dining district in northern Bogotá, frequented by the Colombian middle class and foreign tourists. This will be the first of 50 stores Starbucks plans to open in Colombia by 2018.

In August 2013, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that Starbucks would be entering the Colombian market in partnership with Nutresa, a local food and drinks firm. The partnership formula has been used elsewhere by the company. Starbucks entered the Spanish market in partnership with VIPS, a chain of eateries and stores with a very high profile and string of stores, often located in some of the finest districts in Spanish cities.

Schultz said the firm's success elsewhere would not assure the same in Colombia, a country he nevertheless described as "a very big market and ready for Starbucks."

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Anna Genger, founder of L'Apotheque poses on the pharmacy counter

Eva Eusterhus

The story begins in autumn 2018, when 83-year-old Regis Genger stood at the counter of her pharmacy and realized that the time had come for her to retire. At least that is the first thing her daughter Anna Genger tells us when we meet, describing the turning point that has also shaped her life and that of her business partner Bianca Müllner, who is sitting next to her at the table. Genger and Müllner are surrounded by heavy wooden drawers and antique glass vessels labelled with the Latin names of their contents, as is often found in old pharmacies.

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