Hours after returning Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that smelly, unhealthy, egg-laden cooked sandwiches would soon be banned from his struggling empire, he's apparently found a replacement item for the Starbucks menu. The new (in some markets) goodies will come from local donut entrepreneurs Mark and Michael Klebeck, whose Homer-licious Top Pot Donuts have been available in Seattle stores since 2004. We've been fans of their tasty baked goods and design sense since featuring them in our 2003 Best of Seattle issue (sorry, no link). Now the Klebecks' wares will be available nationwide, expanding from 25 to 50 states, which we think is a good thing for both local companies. Although those grease-fried treats--with no trans-fats!--aren't substantially healthier than the Egg McMuffin-style sandwiches they're replacing.
Perhaps this represents another move by Schultz to reclaim the company's roots and passion. Or, as other company founders have discovered in a changing marketplace, those young whippersnappers with their newfangled ideas, fancy eyeglasses, and Bauhaus design cues may soon be kicking him out of the executive suite. Top Pot seems very much a brand on the rise (unlike the SBUX share price), with savvy leadership at the top rank, which disgruntled Starbucks investors may also notice.
Now if only the Klebecks could do something about those awful chairs and atrocious drapes. And that music has got to go!