With more than 300 stores, Teavana was Starbucks’ prime competition in the growing tea market. The stores, mostly mall-based, feature teas and “teaologists” who offer to educate consumers about the different kinds of tea and its place in the world.
Already owner of the Tazo Tea brand, Starbucks will continue the Teavana store concept. The firm will begin to add neighborhood stores to supplement the existing mall stores.
Tea is a fast-growing choice on restaurant menus, and Starbucks will now be well-positioned to take advantage of that growth. Purchasing Teavana continues the chain’s growth-through-acquisition strategy that has also seen it purchase the Evolution Fresh brand of juices and La Boulange Bakery.
Earlier in 2012, Teavana itself acquired Teaopia, a Canadian chain of 46 tea shops. Those stores are being converted to the Teavana label.