When Argo Tea CEO Arsen Avakian opened his first tea cafe, competition was scarce. Fast forward a decade and now he's facing a Goliath in the coffee industry: Starbucks.
In January, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz provided a glimpse into Starbucks' blueprint for tea to analysts as it seeks to capitalize on the global tea market, which measured roughly $87.5 billion last year, according to Euromonitor data.
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"A year after the acquisition of Teavana, we are more convinced than ever that we have the opportunity to transform the tea category the way we have transformed coffee—all around the world," said Schultz about a category he's described as "ripe for innovation."
Over the next decade, Starbucks plans to open an additional 1,000 North American locations of Teavana, the tea company it bought last year for $620 million as part of its latest effort to diversify beyond lattes. These new stores will include two types of locations: The tea retail stores that the company is known for and a tea bar concept, which launched in New York City and Seattle late last year.