New Starbucks drive through being dropped off in Ballard

SEATTLE -- It's the pop-up of all pop-ups; a new Starbucks drive through being dropped off at the corner of NW 53rd St and 15th Ave NW.

Full of dents from a career of moving goods across the globe, an oversized load crew and a crane operator lifted a 40-foot shipping container into place. The first of three containers to be delivered to this site, they will be fit together to create a new Starbucks drive through and walk up store in Ballard.

Watching from across the street at his Ballard Brothers Seafood and Burgers restaurant, Drew Greer eagerly awaits full operation of his new neighbor.

"I think, honestly, an old used shipping container will serve Starbucks well as fitting in within the neighborhood," Greer said.

The idea for this type of store was born in another one of Seattle's industrial neighborhoods.

"Right behind our office in SoDo, we have the shipping container yard and that's actually what inspired us," said Brian van Stipdonk, Starbucks Northwest Senior Designer. "We feel that the shipping containers are the perfect expressions for the Ballard neighborhood and this is only our 6th in the country."

The average shipping container only lasts about 20 years before it's ditched -- often into scrap yards.

And since the coffee and tea that steams from your cup comes from around the world via shipping containers, van Stipdonk said it seemed like a perfect fit.

The harder fit for Starbucks is working within the confines of the container.

One of the fun challenges about the containers is that we can't modify the dimensions," van Stipdonk said. "So how do we fit inside of it, so it's been a really great puzzle."

He explained that they have an entire team that literally maps out the baristas' steps to figure out exactly where all the equipment needs to go, so that when at capacity, the six employees in there don't end up bumping into one another.

Starbucks built its first container store in Tukwila in 2011 and has added similar container or pre-fabricated stores in Chicago, Atlanta, Salt Lake City and Portland.

Since all of the equipment arrives already installed in the containers, this new store will open in just 10 to 14 days.