ALTHOUGH international coffee brand, Starbucks, has yet to open their first store in Mindanao in May 2011, together with the opening of the Ayala-operated mall Abreeza, it is already mulling of opening three more in the city.

Based on the assessment of Davao City market, Enrique Tantoco Lopez, store development manager of the Philippine franchise of Starbucks, said that four stores in the city will be enough to cater to the market.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

“Davao City is really ready for Starbucks. It is actually primed for Starbucks,” Lopez told Sun.Star Davao Friday during a site visit at Abreeza, the future site of the first Starbucks shop here in Davao. “Looking around, the prices of coffee in local coffee shops are very competitive.”

Lopez was one of the hundreds of merchants representing international, local and Davao-based brands who will be opening their stores in the P3.4 billion shopping center that will offer a totally new experience for Davao City.

The Davao store of Starbucks will be their first in Mindanao, the fifth location outside Metro Manila, and the 174th in the entire country.

Starbucks is one of the first to grab a spot in the highly anticipated shopping destination which is already 70 to 75 percent leased out.

“We have 162 outlets throughout the Greater Manila Area, eight in Cebu, with one each in Bacolod, Boracay, and Palawan,” Lopez said.

Opening in December 1997 in Philippine shores, Starbucks has now grown to be one of the country’s iconic coffee brands that have also started the culture of coffee shops in the country.

“Davao was really out target after opening in Bacolod and Cebu. It is the next city that we have set our eyes upon,” Lopez said. “The moment that the Ayala Land (Incorporated) told us about Abreeza, we immediately said yes.”

The first Starbucks to open in Davao City will be located near the entrance of the shopping center of Abreeza, overlooking the lagoon area.

The first phase of the high-end Ayala operated mall will be completed in the second quarter of 2011 with 35,000 square meters gross leasable area, while the second phase with 26,000 square meters gross leasable area is expected to be finished by the third quarter of 2011. (CPM)