Howard Schultz, the businessman who built up starbucks as the global coffee and coffeehouse brand name that it is today, will soon be stepping down as CEO of the company he has nurtured since 1987. But as his final gesture, he plans to do a full circle of an event that inspired him in the direction he has taken Starbucks over the years. Back when he was a manager for the chain’s original owners, he went to Milan, Italy on a coffee buying trip and was impressed by the sheer number of coffeehouses around, and the espresso too. So before he leaves on April Schultz wants to start work on the first Starbucks in Italy, to open in Milan.

Coffeehouse in a city of coffeehouses

It probably won’t be finished and open until late 2018, but the global Starbucks Corporation has now announced their plans to open their first coffeehouse in Milan where Howard Schultz got his big dream. In line with the location, the branch will be opening at a magnificent a long-established roastery building that is 25,500 square feet large with elegant existing architecture. There, the first Milan Starbucks will be offering not just "premium, small batch, Reserve coffees" but also food and pastries to be baked on-site by Rocco Princi, a veteran Italian artisan.

One of the elements that charmed Schultz about Italian coffeehouse was the fact that they served as meeting places for people, as a part of Italian culture and society.

He has made strides to replicate that atmosphere with every Starbucks branch the world over, where people are chatting with each other while discussing business, or books, or buying with laptops and tablets are a common sight.

Standing out

However, the planned Milan Starbucks will find itself with a major hurdle to overcome once it opens for business.

Ironically it comes from the very elements that Howard Schultz took to heart over three decades prior. Italian coffeehouse patrons tend to be finicky with their choice brews, and prefer to go only to local coffeehouses run by families whose baristas they might know by name and consider a friend. So the notion of going to a coffeehouse that’s merely a branch of an international chain might make for some culture clash, although Starbucks has mentioned taking a measured and respectful approach for when their store opens 2018.

Branch in Milan aside, Starbucks had a lot of things happening for it lately, from its mobile payment options to generating heat from Trump supporters when they vowed to hire refugees for their stores, many of these possibly affected by the momentarily suspended travel ban.