Loved one having surgery? Grab a Frappuccino and a little bit of ‘normal’

A steady line of customers moves through the new Starbucks on the first floor of Providence St. Peter Hospital on Nov. 15.
A steady line of customers moves through the new Starbucks on the first floor of Providence St. Peter Hospital on Nov. 15.

It looks like a Starbucks, it sells the coffee, food and retail products found in a Starbucks, and you can sit down, plug in and log on like you might at a Starbucks.

Yes, it is a Starbucks, but it just so happens that this location is inside Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, one of three Providence locations to welcome the coffee giant. The others are in Portland, Oregon and Burbank, California.

The new location, which opened Wednesday, is envisioned as offering visitors and patients a little bit of “normal” if they have spent hours, or even days, at the hospital. Chris Thomas and Angela Maki, both of whom work in marketing and communications for Providence, as well as food services manager Tim Kloft, said the idea is to offer a place where families can escape and re-energize.

“It will be a great haven, a getaway from the stress,” Kloft said.

Earnings from the Starbucks also will be invested back into hospital infrastructure, services and community programs, Maki said. Ten percent of the store’s earnings will go to Seattle-based Starbucks, but Providence still expects the store to generate $1 million in earnings annually for those other investments, she said.

The store measures a little over 1,000 square feet and its 12 employees are Providence employees. The hospital used to be home to an espresso stand, but now that will be converted into a sandwich bar, Kloft said.

Everything about the Starbucks at Providence is like most of the company’s stores, with a couple of differences. The Starbucks app can be used to accumulate points, but they can’t be redeemed at the hospital location. There’s also no pre-ordering of drinks. However, all gift cards will be accepted and menu pricing is the same.

The hospital location also offers enhanced Internet and cellphone connectivity, spokesman Thomas said.

And it’s not just open to visitors, patients and hospital staff. It is open to the public, and Providence expects to draw customers from the other medical practices that surround the hospital.

The day before Wednesday’s grand opening, the new employees were still being trained. Training them was Morgan Jones, store manager of a Starbucks at 72nd and Hosmer Street in Tacoma, one of the top performing Starbucks in the country, she said. A 24-hour location, Jones said they serve about 1,600 people a day.

As for the new baristas, Jones said they teach them to put people first, to produce a quality product, and to have fun. Starbucks is known for its myriad drink orders; Jones said it takes new baristas about three months to get up to speed.

Jones has spent 10 years with Starbucks. What’s the craziest drink order she’s ever encountered? A 12-shot venti Frappuccino, she said.

Starbucks at Providence St. Peter Hospital

▪ Location: 413 Lilly Road NE, Olympia. The Starbucks is toward the rear of the main lobby, across from the elevators.

▪ Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

▪ Did you know? Before St. Peter food services manager Tim Kloft entered the world of health care-related food service, he went to culinary school at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon. After that, he worked as a chef at two microbreweries in Oregon.