The Associated Press
BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. - Caffeine junkies in West Virginia will no longer have to cross state lines to sit down with grande hazelnut lattes or decaf caramel macchiatos at a Starbucks store.
The giant coffee retailer, with more than 7,200 retail outlets in 30 countries, today will open its first full-fledged coffeehouse in West Virginia - the last state in the nation reached by the virtually ubiquitous chain.
Though two Starbucks stands operate at rest stops along the West Virginia Turnpike, the store set to open in Barboursville, just east of Huntington, will have seating and the full menu.
South Dakota and West Virginia were the last states without regular Starbucks stores before the company opened a shop in Sioux Falls, S.D., several months ago. Starbucks said it has been trying to establish a full-fledged store in West Virginia for years.
"We can't look at all the different locations and be everywhere we want to be as fast as we want to," said company spokeswoman Shannon Jones.
Starbucks hopes to open as many as four more stores in West Virginia by the end of 2004 with more to follow, Jones said.
Jason Arthur, owner of the 2-year-old Java Joint in Huntington, said the state's coffee market isn't big enough to sustain a large number of Starbucks. But he said the chain might actually help businesses like his by educating people about the differences between, say, a caffe mocha, caffe latte and caffe americano.
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