Last November, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) — the king of coffee — raised a few eyebrows when it staked footing in the $3.4 billion juice business by purchasing the Evolution Fresh brand.
Then in March, when the world-famous roaster opened its first Evolution Fresh juice bar in Bellevue, Wash., responses ranged from declaring the move a potential disaster to pondering whether there’s anything that Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz cannot accomplish.
While it’s still too early to ascertain the fate of Evolution Fresh, analyst Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Markets is impressed with the juice brand’s potential for growth, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.
“We would note that the juices are much higher quality than any juices currently sold by Starbucks, and we view the Evolution Fresh brand as well-positioned to grab market share in the health-and-wellness segment,” Kalinowski wrote in a Wednesday report after visiting the Evolution Fresh shop in Bellevue. “We also view the Evolution Fresh retail concept as a viable standalone concept, although we believe that Starbucks will most likely leverage their Starbucks-brand asset base to develop the Evolution Fresh brand.”
In related news, Starbucks has named Arthur Rubinfeld as chief creative officer and president of global development and Evolution Fresh retail. Rubinfeld, who was responsible for the design of the first Evolution Fresh store, will continue to lead the Evolution Fresh retail store strategy. Plans to open the second Evolution Fresh store are in the works, but the opening date and store location have not been confirmed.