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Peet’s shows off coffee varieties with ‘Slow Bar’

Chain opens unit in Washington, D.C., with further growth planned in region

Peet’s Coffee & Tea debuted its first in-store Slow Bar Monday with the opening of a new unit in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood.

The four-seat Slow Bar displays various coffee beans and brewing methods, such as press pot, pour over and siphon.

The 2,000-square-foot location on M Street features two stories of public space and expands the brand’s East Coast footprint.

“The Georgetown store evolves our design,” Paul Clayton, Peet’s president of retail, told Nation’s Restaurant News Tuesday. “It does a better job of telling the Peet’s story, how we are unique and how we are different from many of our competitors.”

Peet's Coffee

The exterior of Peet's Coffee's Georgetown unit. Photo: Peet's Coffee

Coffee beans are displayed at the front of the first floor. Traditional coffee service is offered in the middle, and the Slow Bar is located at the back.

“That allows [customers] to linger and learn more about the coffee,” Clayton said. “Upstairs is the seating area. We’re trying to make the stores comfortable for the guests to stay a while and enjoy their coffee.”

This type of unit also lets Peet’s serve a wider variety of coffee.

“We have 20 to 30 kinds of beans in most of our stores, and not all of them get brewed,” Clayton said. “When we have the ability to serve single cups and with brewing methodologies to support that, we can serve more variety of beans.”

The landing to the second story features a wall of living plants, which debuted about two years ago at a Peet’s unit in Northern California, Clayton said. This is the chain’s fourth living wall.

Peet's Coffee

The Georgetown unit offers a wider variety of coffee beans. Photo: Peet's Coffee

The unit also includes sustainable building features such as LED light fixtures, efficient heating and cooling systems, and water conservation equipment.

Peet’s has been expanding in the D.C. area, growing from one retail location in 2013 to more than 20 units today. The company has also launched units in Boston and New York City.

“This allows us to showcase Peet’s in a meaningful way,” Clayton said.

The demographics of the Georgetown neighborhood are also beneficial for Peet’s, he said.

“We like to think of Peet’s as relevant for everybody who drinks coffee,” Clayton said, “But we, in particular, like to focus in on the coffee connoisseur, and we think being in the vibrant, young neighborhood [of Georgetown] will help build our brand equity.”

Peet's Coffee

The seating area for Peet's Coffee customers. Photo: Peet's Coffee

Dave Burwick, Peet’s CEO, said in statement: “D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia remain an important market for the company,” adding that Peet’s aims to have 30 units in the region by 2020.

Earlier in December, Peet’s said it would invest $58 million in a new 175,000-square-foot roastery in Suffolk, Va. The roastery will open by the end of 2018, and will serve Peet’s East Coast growth.

Emeryville, Calif.-based Peet’s, a subsidiary of JAB Holding Co., has more than 400 units. The first Peet’s opened in 1966, in Berkeley, Calif.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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