"It's an intriguing question how far Starbucks the coffee shop can morph into Starbucks
the brand," says William Blair & Co. analyst Sharon Zackfia, who points out that in always swinging for the fences, founder/CEO Howard Schultz sometimes strikes out.
For his part, Schultz says that creating a "very significant consumer packaged goods" business is a "centerpiece" of the company's growth strategy. Without elaborating on specifics, he suggested that a "pipeline" of new products would follow the Via model in the next 12 to 18 months. He also hints that the company's popular loyalty card will figure in the marketing for Starbucks grocery products.