Starbucks announced Tuesday that it will reimagine three of its highest-profile Seattle stores — including the cafe at Pike Place Market popular with tourists.

“These three stores will offer an elevated experience,” the company said in a press release, which describes the stores as the “most globally visited.”

As part of of the company’s “Heritage Market” initiative, the Pike Place store will be themed the “past,” while the one at First Avenue and Pike Street will be “present” and another at First Avenue and University Street will be “future.” 

The Heritage Market push adds to the portfolio of stores that break from the Starbucks norm, like the Starbucks Reserve stores and “Stealth Starbucks” — stores that do not look to be part of the Starbucks brand.

Last month, Starbucks announced it was investing in store innovation as part of a $1 billion package for a transformation in the Starbucks experience.

Starbucks workers had to reapply for their positions at the three stores. The selected workers will go through additional training and receive a 3% to 5% raise above base pay. Workers who decided not to reapply or were not selected will keep their jobs and choose what store to be transferred to.


The Heritage baristas will participate in a coffee master program and coffee tastings with customers. They will also work among all three stores.

Starbucks said the Heritage Market is “a journey to reinvent the future of the company through co-creation with Starbucks partners.”

The Heritage Market plan follows Howard Schultz’s May return as interim CEO. Starbucks has been grappling with changes to its “Starbucks experience” and stores’ “Third Place” role as workers file to hold union elections. So far, 150 stores have unionized and 289 filed paperwork to hold elections.


The First and Pike store filed a petition for a union election this month, and held a one-day strike Saturday.

Schultz said this month he does not see the union’s role in the co-creation of the company. “We don’t believe that a third party should lead our people,” Schultz said at the time.