Age: 65 Childhood: Father died in World War II, when he was 3 months old. Mother raised him in Ballard and Burien. Family: Lives with his...
Childhood: Father died in World War II, when he was 3 months old. Mother raised him in Ballard and Burien.
Family: Lives with his wife, Celia Bowker, in Seattle. Their two grown daughters, Rosie and Jenny, also live in Seattle.
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Graduates from O’Dea High School in Seattle and attends University of San Francisco, where he rooms with Jerry Baldwin, with whom he later founds Starbucks.
Drives cross-country with two friends, including Zev Siegl, another Starbucks co-founder. Bowker then tours Europe, where he took a shine to British beer and Italian espresso.
Edits his university newspaper and quits school eight credits short of a degree. Returns to Seattle, where he drives taxis, house-sits and works as a Seattle Underground tour guide, among other things.
Writes educational films for a division of King Broadcasting and freelances for the original Seattle magazine, where he meets Terry Heckler, with whom he later starts an advertising agency, and David Brewster, whom he later helps to launch Seattle Weekly.
Begins to drive to Vancouver, B.C., to buy Murchie’s coffee. Eventually makes monthly trips and decides to start a coffee store in Seattle.
The magazine publishes its final issue.
Bowker, Baldwin and Siegl open the first Starbucks store near Pike Place Market. Bowker paints the store and works there on weekends.
Heckler Bowker gets the Rainier Brewery advertising account. One ad features frogs croaking “Rainier.” Baldwin uses a closet at the agency as his Starbucks office.
Sells his share of Heckler Bowker, begins to mull the idea of a brewery and encourages Brewster to start Seattle Weekly. Bowker contributes money to the Weekly’s launch and writes restaurant reviews under the pseudonym Lars Henry Ringseth.
Co-founds Apanage, a real-estate development company in Poulsbo.
Works with Chateau Ste. Michelle, where he gets to know Paul Shipman, with whom he starts Redhook Ale Brewery.
Redhook pours its first beer.
Starbucks, which was majority-owned by Bowker and Baldwin, buys Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
Bowker and Baldwin sell the Starbucks portion of Peet’s to Howard Schultz and a group of investors. Bowker leaves the coffee business, but rejoins Peet’s board in 1994. He’s resigning from the board May 21.
Involved in Hawaiian slack key guitar scene and joins Ken Levine in producing a CD of Led Kaapana and Mike Kaawa.