You might be surprised to learn that this isolated, small, Starbucks in the Central Valley desert of California (Lebec, California) is one of the very busiest stores in the entire company. It competes with the New York City Times Square Starbucks and 1912 Pike Place store, vying for the top position, and holds strong in the top five in the United States. That is amazing! New York Times Square Starbucks and 1912 Pike Place Starbucks are often #1 and #2 for sales volume in the entire Starbucks corporation, with six million in annual AUV and five and a half million, respectively, as per Troy Alstead during an investor event (more info below).
When you consider that there are 12,000 stores in the United States, this is remarkable! This Starbucks in Lebec, California, trails right behind New York Times Square, and almost always in the top five. (The number three volume store is a drive-thru in Houston.)
If you want to visit, here’s the store’s address:
Starbucks store #6689
5844 Dennis McCarthy Drive
(661) 858 2034
I was tipped off that I must visit this store when I heard Troy Alstead talking about it. From the investor relations page at Starbucks.com, I was streaming the audio portion of the “Starbucks at Jefferies at Global Consumer Conference Presentation,” originally held on June 18, 2013, in Massachusetts. Troy described this Starbucks as the “top five volume store in the U.S.”
As it happened, I knew that would be driving right past this store, on a road trip from Southern California to Seattle, in late June. I dropped by this store on June 28, 2013. By the way, this isn’t really a store that you decide on a whim to “drop by.” Not at all. If you’re coming from Southern California, you’ve driven on busy roads (for probably about two plus hours, with LA traffic), climbed 3,000 feet in elevation through the Angeles Forest (which somehow still a desert), and you’re dying of heat because you probably turned off your car’s AC during the six mile climb up 3,000 feet. Then you breeze a bit downhill, traveling a long distance of nothingness. It’s hot. When you reach this Starbucks, it appears like an oasis, and you want it. Thank god there is a Starbucks. Needless to say, when I talked to the store’s manager, she mentioned that they have incredible bottled cold beverage sales.
When I stepped out of my car, it was still a cool 94 degrees out because it only about the noon hour. My in-car nav seemed to think this Starbucks was closer to “Arvin,” California than “Lebec,” but the store is clearly listed as being in Lebec on the receipt and store locator. In the middle of nowhere, there’s this complex of drive-thrus including a Del Taco, In-n-Out Burger, McDonalds, this Starbucks, and several gas stations. It’s apparently the “Tejon Ranch” business complex.
I will say, when I stepped out of the car, I was SO glad to see a Starbucks. That stretch of I-5 (between Los Angeles and Bakersfield) is unpleasant to drive, and needs badly this midpoint stopping point! I bet this store gets a million people who want to use their bathrooms, stretch their legs, and get a cold drink and be on their way – or just want to use the drive-thru,
By the way, while visiting the Tejon Ranch area, I decided to stop into the In-n-Out Burger. It was so packed I could barely get in the door. Ultimately, I decided to use the drive-thru which took twelve minutes, but I think, somehow was faster than if I had gone inside. But I would have rather eaten my lunch in their air-conditioned location!
I really wanted to visit this store partly because I figured that any store that it is in the top five of the entire company must have an amazing manager. Actually, if it didn’t, I would assume they’d have chaos. I met Margherita,who is a 9-year Starbucks partner. She proudly told me a little bit about her store – seems as though the drive-thru is never empty of cars! She said they do have a strong espresso bar business, but sell little merchandise. And, she sells a lot of cold, bottled beverages. I totally enjoyed meeting her. If you happen to be on a long drive on I-5, I recommend that you stop at this store. One thing that I would imagine would be odd about working in a store like this, is that you would have very few regulars!
There you have it! I made it to one of the busiest Starbucks in the whole corporation. I ordered a Venti Iced Passion Tea. Gustavo took my order, and was a friendly young guy. And, I met an enthusiastic Starbucks manager. Two thumbs up for Lebec Starbucks!