Orion Building New Starbucks

June 5, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — Construction has started on the city’s first free-standing Starbucks coffee house, and another half-dozen or so may be built here in the near future.

Orion II Construction is managing the transformation of the former Bank One East Grand Rapids branch at 2172 Wealthy SE into the new Starbucks shop. The 1,800-square-foot space is being given the traditional Starbucks retro-Euro look and should be open for business by mid-May.

The Wealthy Street Starbucks is the third such job for the Grand Rapids-based design- and-build construction and property management firm. Orion won the contract last year and built its first coffee houses in Waterford Township and Dearborn Heights.

“Just about a year ago, we recognized that Starbucks was entering Michigan and we recognized the complexity of their build-out, which has a high degree of finishes. So we contacted Starbucks corporate and then we interviewed in Chicago,” said Tim Ohlmann, who started Orion last April with Gary Postma.

But Ohlmann said Orion plans to only manage local projects for Starbucks and not those across the state, because the firm has a good lineup of subcontractors that it works with here. He also said Starbucks is considering building more shops on the city’s southeast side, possibly up to eight, but added that the retailer wasn’t ready to release details on the exact number and locations.

“There will be a number of Starbucks in the West Michigan market,” said Ohlmann.

Soos & Associates designs all the Starbucks shops as the company’s architect.

Starbucks is the nation’s top specialty coffee retailer with over 4,000 shops located in 20 countries. The company had sales of nearly $2.2 billion last year with net income topping $94 million. Sales grew by 29 percent in 2000, while net income rose by 7 percent last year.

In addition to its coffee houses, Starbucks also sells its beans to restaurants, businesses, airlines and hotels. The Seattle-based company also offers accessories such as mugs, makers, grinders and storage containers.

Starbucks is an S&P 500 company and is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol SBUX.

The first local Starbucks opened in the D&W Cascade Food Center at 6425 28th St. SE.

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