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Starbucks Expands From Coffee Empire, Opening First Juice Bar

Evolution Fresh juice bar

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we all know Starbucks is at the top of the corporate coffee chain. And now, the caffeine supergiant may soon have another indulgence on every corner: a juice bar.

So here’s how it all went down. Last November, Starbucks purchased a company originally owned by California-based Naked Juice called Evolution Fresh, which they will use to start a new chain serving fresh fruit and veggie juices, smoothies, soups, salads, and wraps. The first store just opened in an upscale shopping district east of Seattle.

The good part in this is that it could encourage more people to eat healthily, packing in the fruits and veggies to their everyday meals. Plus, the quick and convenient aspect of healthy foods is great because a quick run through Evolution Fresh for a mediterranean tuna wrap in collard greens is a heck of a lot healthier than a McDouble if you’re hungry and in a hurry.

The downside? Well, there are a lot of us who are faithful to local juice bars, and if a huge chain like this stomps on into the neighborhood, it has the potential to put small local shops out of business. Reuters also points out that Evolution Fresh will be using a heat-free, high-pressure pasteurization process, whereas many independently owned bars don’t pasteurize at all, and that’s just how their customers like it.

On another note, with so many serious coffee drinkers out there dry-heaving at the thought of a cup of Starbucks, it’s hard to say whether or not the chain will actually be able to make an apple-beet-carrot-collard-wheatgrass smoothie in an acceptable manner that’s free of sugar and still tastes palatable. They can’t even spell vegetables, so how high can our hopes really be?

With the success of Starbucks expanding beyond their chain stores to products such as Keurig K-cups and Via instant coffee, it’s no secret that they are immaculate at executing an idea and turning it into an empire. Investors have also seen a significant bump, with stocks that were as low as $10 in February of 2009 now trading above $53, as of the publishing of this post.

Will you try a drink from Evolution Fresh? If this move is successful, could this be the end of local juice bars as we know them, or even other chains such as Jamba Juice?

Image: Starbucks’ first Evolution Fresh store opened on March 19, 2012 (Photo: Business Wire)

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