Starbucks opens first juice store, in Bellevue

BELLEVUE — Now that Starbucks Corp, has covered the world — or at least the United States — with coffee shops, it is branching into Jamba Juice’s territory.

Starbucks opened a juice store called Evolution Fresh on Monday in Bellevue — the first shop in a chain of juice stores, although Starbucks won’t say where it’s opening next or how many it plans to have.

Customers can buy 16-ounce made-to-order juices there for $7.99, including a concoction of greens, ginger, apple and cucumber dubbed “Field of Greens” or a mix of coconut water, pineapple and cucumber.

The store has a “juice wall” with eight taps for a variety of juices, ranging from greens to beets to cucumber. An Evolution Fresh employee will blend each drink to order while customers watch.

The shop, which is next door to an outdoor Starbucks, also sells salads, soups, sandwiches and bowls of grains and vegetables. Brewed coffee and tea also are on the menu.

It’s named for a small California juice company Starbucks bought last fall for $30 million.

Founded by a creator of Naked Juice, Evolution Fresh squeezes raw fruits and vegetables at its juicery in San Bernardino, Calif., and sells them in West Coast stores, including Whole Foods and PCC Natural Markets.

Starbucks plans to sell the juice in its coffee shops nationwide, while opening more juice stores. The Bellevue store is opening just in time for Starbucks’ annual meeting Wednesday.

When Starbucks bought Evolution Fresh, analysts questioned why it was jumping into an area that’s been a challenge even for major player Jamba Juice.

Starbucks thinks it can do juices better.

“Jamba Juice, I think, drifted into an area of commoditizing their business and no longer standing for what the independents have done so well,” CEO Howard Schultz told analysts.

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