It was March 1, 1987, when Seattle-based Starbucks opened its first international location—and do you know where it was?
At Waterfront Station in Vancouver.
That opening marked a milestone for that company, as well as a shift in Vancouver’s café scene from which numerous coffee shops would spring.
Although at one time Starbucks seemed to be on almost every street in the city, the company has become a victim of its own success. During the pandemic in June 2020, the coffee company announced it would be closing a few hundred stores, with up to 300 (initally announced as 200) in Canada.
In response, a local chain, which has operated for over 20 years, is undertaking a plan for expansion and reinvention.
The family-owned and -operated Caffè Artigiano, which has rebranded itself as Artigiano, will take over several locations vacated by Starbucks. The pandemic forced the company to abandon its previous expansion plans.
But the numerous shuttered Starbucks storefronts peppering the city offered new opportunities.
The first new Artigiano location is at 111 West Broadway (at Manitoba) in Mount Pleasant in Vancouver.
A second spot will follow in Whistler’s North Village near the Olympic Plaza.
Two more Vancouver locations are undergoing negotiations.
In addition, Artigiano is collaborating with the Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF) to have murals created by local artists featured on the exteriors and interiors of the two confirmed locations.
These locations will also have specific mural-themed merchandise (including mugs, shirts, and bags) that reflects that location’s artwork. Profits will be shared with the commissioned artists and the VMF.
Vancouver artist Peter Ricq created the mural at the Mount Pleasant location entitled What Comes Around Goes... and Puts a Smile on Your Face, which begins in the interior and carries on to the exterior wall on Manitoba Street.
Ricq considers his mural as a “playful look at the complexity of balancing the utopian goals of sustainability with the threat of a dystopian future”.
Artigiano currently operates 16 shops in Vancouver and three in Alberta.More