Starbucks — it’s open!

Winters, California got its first Starbucks this week.

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Caffeine junkies rejoice: There is a new place to get your fix. Starbucks opened its doors promptly at 5 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 12, and by mid-morning, everything was running as smooth as a mocha frappuccino.

Manager Danyelle Sikes explains that all of the employees learned their exact jobs at area Starbucks well in advance of the opening of the Winters store, so by the time the first customers started trickling in, everyone was already well-practiced. The one part of their jobs that the employees didn’t know in advance is each other. Sikes says they met for the first time on their very first day at work on Monday.

“We’re getting to know each other, getting to know our store and getting to know our customers,” says Sikes with a big smile.

While the Starbucks employees know exactly what to do, Winters customers may still have a little learning in store for them. There are temporary barriers in front of the Chevron station in the eastbound lane to prevent drivers from turning into the opening to the drive-through window, while the parking lot can only be accessed from Matsumoto Lane.

There are 23 employees at the Winters store, 10 of which are Winters residents. There is a mix of seasoned and brand-new Starbucks employees, from managers to baristas. Sikes was all smiles about the smooth opening and says she is excited to be in charge of the first Starbucks in Winters, and likely the only one for a very long time. Starbucks seems to proliferate elsewhere, and she notes that Vacaville, for example, has 11 Starbucks. In the Bay Area, where Sikes grew up, there were even more.

“I passed by 14 Starbucks on my way to the Starbucks where I worked,” says Sikes.

Sikes has been a Starbucks employee for eight years, and managed the Green Valley store most recently. She says she appreciates being treated as a valued employee by the company.

“It’s a company that cares about its employees, where my opinion matters even though I am one person out of 100,000.”

That caring extends to the community and Sikes says supporting local communities is a Starbucks priority, and Sikes is looking forward to meeting Winters customers. She notes that Starbucks didn’t wait to get involved with Winters, and had 70 area employees volunteer at the Project Playground build week in October. Sikes says non-profit organizations shouldn’t be shy about approaching Starbucks for support, whether it’s volunteer help or donating coffee products for fundraisers.

“We’re happy to be part of the community,” says Sikes. “Feel free to reach out if there’s anything we can help with.”

Besides coffee, Starbucks also offers tea, beverages, pastries, snacks, and a variety of breakfast and lunch sandwiches and paninis. There is also whole bean and ground coffee for sale by the pound, and a variety of Starbucks logo insulated mugs, which can be brought back for refills and a 10-cent discount. However, Sikes notes that Starbucks will give that discount for any mug that’s brought in, which can add up over time and also keeps paper waste out of landfills. Another “green” Starbucks activity is offering free coffee grounds to any backyard farmers who want them.

Starbucks additionally offers free WiFi access for its customers, and has ample seating both indoor and out. Cyclists will be pleased to discover a bike station, complete with tire pumps and tools to make repairs.

On Monday morning, customers were steadily coming through the doors to see what the new Starbucks has to offer, Marie Heilman and Mylene Selby among them. Both gave positive reviews.

“I’m excited for what this is going to do for the community,” said Heilman, who is taking over the Youth Day Duck Derby this year and already has plans to ask Starbucks for their support.

Selby noted that Starbucks expands choices for local residents.

“I think it’s great,” said Selby. “It’s an option for teens to hang out, and adults too. It’s open for longer hours.”

She added that she thinks Starbucks will help keep people spending money locally.

“People go out of town to go to Starbucks — why not keep the business in town?”

The very first customer through the door on Monday was Melody Benson, who was waiting outside the door promptly at 4:58 a.m.

“I’ve been driving by every day with anticipation for the past two months waiting for it to open,” says Benson, a Starbucks fan. “I was so happy to be tiny part of this new addition to our quaint little town. It was a fun early morning outing and the service was great.”

For those who missed the rather quiet opening on Monday morning, there’s still an opportunity to celebrate.

A formal welcome and ribbon cutting is planned on Friday, Feb. 16, at 9 a.m. Starbucks is located at 700 Matsumoto Lane, and is open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The store did not yet have a phone number at press time.

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