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Starbucks gets neighborly

Starbucks Coffee opened its newest Knoxville store in the Turkey Creek Shopping Center Saturday, Sept. 20.

The Turkey Creek location is the second Starbucks Coffee Corp. store in Knoxville. A Bearden area store opened in November 2002. In addition, there are two partnership stores operating inside Target at Target Creek and the University Of Tennessee campus.

Store manager for both Starbucks Coffee Corp.. stores is Samantha Gillen, a Tennessee native. She began her career as a barista (coffee maker) with Starbucks in Atlanta, but is happy to be back in her home state.

“People here are so nice. It’s just so different from Atlanta. There’s no road rage here,” she laughed.

Gillen described the Turkey Creek location as a neighborhood store, and plans to encourage the store’s neighborhood ambiance by offering a weekly book hour, where parents may bring children in to be read to by a partner (employee).

“We’re your home away from home, and six months from now we’ll know your name and we’ll make your drink when we see you pull up into the parking lot.”

Locally, Gillen said the most popular offerings are the white chocolate mocha coffee drink (“it’s sweet, it’s creamy, and it’s good!”) and, “anything made with blueberries,” referring to some of the store’s breakfast pastries and afternoon desserts.

As the holiday season draws nearer, the store will offer limited edition, seasonal drinks such as gingerbread lattes, eggnog lattes, and Starbucks Christmas blend coffee. “That’s our second-best selling coffee,” Gillen said, second only to Starbucks house blend.

On Thursday afternoon, Oct. 16, the public is invited to the store’s grand opening party, offering live jazz, party favors, and T-shirts.

“It will be a very big day for us,” Gillen said, “celebrating the success of the store.”

Gillen said both Knoxville locations have been well received by the public, and plans for future growth are not necessarily finished in the Knoxville area.

But for now, Gillen is happy to cater to the current community. “We call it your third place (after home and work),” she said, “where you go to get away from everything else in life, just to have a moment for you.”

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