Friday, May 30, 2008

Starbucks Argentina Strikes Gold

Something just happened to me that has not happened since I started this business. Today was Starbuck´s grand opening to the public. It was such a huge success that they called me from the store (not even three hours open) to ask me for a favor; could I make a delivery today since they are doubting that they will be able to wait for their own shipment from the warehouse before they would run out of cookies? The background noise gave every indication that the place was packed.

Mind you, their initial purchase was not a tiny one. They were expecting to be busy, it´s just that they turned out to be busier than they expected.

I was going to stop by to say hello and have a coffee, but now it seems I will be making a delivery.

By the way, there was a pretty good article in Perfil regarding Starbuck´s. The picture above is from the article. I will see if I can take a picture from the place itself; although, there might not be much to see except a mob of people drinking coffee. Check back later on today though if you are curious.

My hat is off to you Starbuck´s, the opening looks like a huge success.

According to the article they plan on opening 3 to 4 more stores before the year is up. That would be about 4 stores in 6 months.

*** update 1***
Links to other sites writing about the Starbucks opening:

Apertura de Starbucks
Cuando Abre Starbucks?
MSNBC in English
Street in English
Starbucks Goes to Argentina from
Confessions of a Starbucks Addict part 2
Will Starbucks be a Hit in Argentina?
Fiebre por Starbucks - Merodeador
La Nacion - Starbucks abre su primer cafe y sumara otros cuatro
La Verdad acerca de Starbucks - Todo por 2Clicks
Starbucks abre hoy su primer café en el país - Clarin
Starbucks desembarcó en la Argentina - Apertura
Starbucks Madness - Buenos Aires Daily

N°84 speaks...(with PODCASTS!)

***update 2***
I just got back from delivering their emergency stock of cookies and I was surprised at what I saw. I was also kicking myself for not taking my camera. There was a huge line of people waiting to get in. Sure, I thought they would be busy, but I did not expect to see a long line snaking out the building and around the corner.

The employees told me that the line has been constant since they opened up at 8am this morning.

I would say that for now, it looks like a runaway success.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Starbucks Argentina

I previously wrote about Starbuck's coming to Argentina. Tonight I went to one of their pre-opening events. Since it is opening, I can now come out and say that yes, we did get picked to be one of their product suppliers; in fact, we supply them with cookies and brownies.

This is Argentina's first store and it is located in the Alto Palermo Shopping Mall (Flash web site).

The store is big. It is also very cozy and comfortable. The outside seating is very spacious. I can't say enough good things about the place. I was very impressed. There are lots of comfortable chairs, couches, and ottomans. This place was made to entice you to stay and enjoy your cup right there on the premises.

As soon as I walked in the door I was offered a cappuccino brownie. Funny, I didn't supply this. Right away I saw John (this guy flies around the world and is in charge of making sure that all the international stores get the products right) and asked him if those brownies were his doing. He was guilty as charged and I humbly congratulated him; they were fantastic.

One other thing they seemed to have gotten right, and this is something that is very difficult to pull off, is that the employees that I have dealt with during this whole time are so enthused and so into this project you would think that this is their store. This is difficult to fake on an ongoing basis.

The store opens this Friday the 29th of May at 7am.

The previous post I wrote on this subject generated some passionate debate. In that post I also linked to other blogs that wrote about the impending arrival of Starbuck's. Makes for some interesting reading...

Below are some pictures of the event...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Narnia Avant Premier

For those of you who live in Argentina you now have the opportunity to attend an avant premier, donate to charity, and receive a delicious cookie gift all at the same time.

On the 10th of June, Fundacion Leer will be hosting the avant premier of Prince Caspian. The tickets will cost $30 pesos and the proceeds will go to charity. At the end of the screening everyone will have a little bag from Sugar & Spice as a gift.

The screening will be at Atlas Recoleta ( Guido 1952) at 7pm. If you are interested in going you can purchase your tickets directly from Fundación Leer or at any of the Wanama store locations. You can call 4777-1111 for information or you can also write to them at:

entradas at

Please take note that the screening will be dubbed for this showing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"You're off to Great Places!"

I have recently made a couple of presentations to some local universities that have hosted American MBA students.

The first one came through my wife´s past involvement with EDDE. She used to be a professor in their MBA program. They were doing a series on Entrepreneurs and they asked her to present Sugar & Spice. She did not want to do it by herself so she asked me to go.

The second one came through a fellow expat who happens to work for the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. My wife decided that one presentation was one too many for her and promptly nominated me to go by myself.

I had a great time during both presentations. Basically I was telling a story, our story of how we came to create this little gourmet cookie factory and how it has been growing and changing.

We started this back in 2002. Fresh from the economic meltdown of 2001 we decided to leave our corporate jobs and start a couple of our own ventures. If that wasn´t crazy enough, we also decided to start our own little family; in fact, the name Sugar & Spice comes from that little children´s ditty that sings about what little girls and little boys are made from. I am so glad we had a girl, if you look at it from that point of view.

As we grew from a home based business; to a small rental property with used equipment; to a state of the art 800 sq meter facility, we learned some things along the way and shared frustrations as well as some laughs.

In one of our latest hiring efforts we were looking for a salesperson. This young woman came in and stated that, although she knew a little English, she actually had been studying it for years through group classes, tutors, private schools, public schools, etc., and that she could never get the hang of the language due most likely to her dislike of Americans...

Poor girl, I couldn´t really blame her, I mean there are some Americans that I dislike myself; however, she really should try to refrain from expressing any racism or at least do a little research for a job interview. I mean, if in a Spanish speaking country you interview at a company that has an English name, there is a slight chance that someone may either be American, or would at least like Americans.

In any case, she did not get the job, but it was for other reasons.

There was also the time when another young woman came in, and my wife sort of put her on the spot by asking her "What would be the first thing you would do with the company?", and she came up with getting rid of the color orange...

Maybe it was the first color that she saw, seeing that we have it prominently displayed everywhere. She would obviously have had a very busy first day if we would have let her have her way.

She also did not get the job.

I was asked about cultural differences. Right away I was told to carry a book with me because I would end up waiting around most of the time. I imagined myself transported to the whimsical pages of a Dr. Suess book most appropriately called "Oh, the Places You´ll Go" and specifically land in the "Waiting Place.....

"...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow."

In all fairness I see Argentina represented in other parts of the book... "It's opener there in the wide open air". I am currently looking for the "bright places where Boom Bands are playing", and I know they are here and just within reach.

Although in many instances I do end up waiting, it is no longer that annoying to me. I now take my iPod with me. At first, I got reacquainted with my music; now I listen to podcasts. I love my iPod. I know, I am not the first one to express undying devotion to this little device. But, thanks to this little marvel, I was very happy and surprised to see how public radio has grown. I count "This American Life" as one of my most favorite programs. I am hooked on this show.

Thanks to this show I have learned about the chimpanzee population in the United States and how they live after they retire in the show titled "Human Resources".

I have been transported back to Chicago where the bridges smell like chocolate.

I have heard the embarrassing way that the Bush Administration has asserted its power in various small ways with big implications for the rest of us down the road in "The Audacity of Government".

I have heard countless stories that have moved me to tears as well as to laughter.

This is public radio at its best. At least now I don´t mind too much about the waiting around.

One other little gem of knowledge or experience I have picked up, that was not included in Dr. Suess's book, is to build high up or avoid flood zones; meanwhile, I am trying "to be dexterous and deft. And never to mix up your right foot with your left.".

All the quotes are taken from Dr. Seuss, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" Random House, 1990

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


1.the act of retracting or the state of being retracted.
2.withdrawal of a promise, statement, opinion, etc.: His retraction of the libel came too late.
3.retractile power. Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

A While back I had created a couple of posts that were very critical of the current Argentine administration´s handling of the current farm crisis. These posts made some people within my extended family very nervous.

This country has gone through some very dark times and the ghosts of those times are still around.

My own naivety has come to light on this one. I forgot temporarily that this isn´t Kansas anymore.

Out of respect for my family, the people that I represent, and my company, I decided to retract those posts. My apologies for those of you who read them and who even linked to them.

Now back to normal programing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Special Olympics

Every once in a while we send products to the Special Olympics so that they can raise money for their events. Currently we have some that are being auctioned and it would be great if any of you would be interested enough to join in on the fun of bidding!

Click here for a direct link to the product page. Currently there is a gift pack of Cantucci and it is at $9 pesos. These gift packs normally go for over $30 pesos so you are guaranteed a bargain as well as feel good points for helping out a great cause.

Obviously, this one is only good for Argentina.