The Clover rollout
How fast and how far will Starbucks rollout its newly acquired Clovers? Answer: real fast and real far. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:
Many stores will be getting a Clover, but probably not those with low foot traffic or short hours, Gass said. Very busy stores may get two. About 30 percent of U.S. stores will get Clovers by year-end, Schultz said.
In another article -- does any other newspaper devote so much space to coffee coverage? -- a discouraging sign about the future of Clover sales to indie shops:
[Clover founder Zander Nosler says,] "When I first wrote a business plan, it did have the idea of Starbucks in it. And I was told early on, 'You'd better not write a business plan that has one customer, because you won't raise much money with that.' So we made a plan that involved going out to the world, to everybody."
That's precisely what Schultz didn't want -- so he bought the company.
I can't fault the guys for selling. They got a dream offer, and they certainly deserve it for all their hard work, vision, and ingenuity. But still, looking at all the potential the Clover holds for changing the way people think about coffee, it would be a shame to see Starbucks get it exclusively. Unfortunately, I suspect Starbucks Corp. sees more advantage in keeping Clover brewers to itself and to the few early adopters that already have them. Let's hope I'm wrong...