Multinational coffeehouse chain Starbucks inaugurated their first location in Bogota on Wednesday as part of an expansion strategy that will open 50 stores across Colombia.
Starbucks President Howard Schultz and and Americas director Cliff Burrows both attended the opening ceremony in Bogota, stating that “the history with [Colombia] goes back 43 years and we have always wanted to enter the Colombian market with energy,” according to Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper.
A Starbucks press release states that, “Starbucks stores in Colombia will be the first anywhere in the world to serve exclusively locally sourced Starbucks coffee.”
The Starbucks expansion into Colombia is joint venture with the companies, Alsea and Grupo Nutresa.
Alsea is a leading restaurant operator in Latin America, with brands like Burger King, to P.F. Chang’s, Domino’s Pizza, and California Pizza Kitchen.
Grupo Nutresa is the forth largest food company in Latin America and is composed of 64 companies that produce processed food products.
Cliff Burrows in his interview said, “We enter the Colombian market with humility and respect towards Juan Valdez and Oma. Coffee consumption will increase in the country and generate opportunities for growth.”
Burrows also asserts that “In countries where we have established coffeehouses, the consumption [of coffee] doubles.”
The Starbucks Director of the Americas says the expansion into Colombia is happening because conditions are ripe. The opening of 50 stores in Colombia will take place over the next five years, with an investment of roughly $30 million and generate 1,000 new jobs.
Juan Valdez openly welcomes the competition
Colombia’s largest coffeehouse chain, Juan Valdez, launched in 2002 by Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers, is outwardly welcoming the competition, according to the Associated Press.
“There’s room in the market for us both,” said Alejandra Londono, head of international sales for the Colombian chain, asserting that the arrival of Starbucks will boost the market for gourmet java even if sales at its nearly 200 stores in Colombia take a hit over the short term, according to the same source.
In 2014 alone, Juan Valdez has expanded its market and opened stores in South Korea, Malaysia, and Aruba, and opened its 12th store in Peru, according to the coffee chain’s website.