Starbucks VP on working with Howard Schultz to bring idea to life

By Patricia Riedman Yeager, Contributing Writer

Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO of Starbucks, had a vision that he’d been developing for a decade. He wanted to create a shrine to coffee in Seattle, the company’s hometown, where visitors could learn about the bean and the beverage, immerse themselves in the Starbucks brand, and watch as it “rained coffee beans.” One of Schultz’s inspirations? Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

sbux-muller-largeIt was a high-stakes, high-pressure project for the $16 billion, 44-year old company. And making it happen fell to Liz Muller, left, the Vice President of Creative and Global Design at Starbucks. She admits that as a native of Holland, she wasn’t familiar with Mr. Wonka when her boss first referenced the fictional confectioner.

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