INNOVATORS From the “mall of the Internet” to an Italian inspired espresso bar in Chile, the Evergreen State is shrinking the world at an aggressive pace.

Grand Opening
Iruma, Japan 2008

In 1983, co-founders Jeff Brotman and James Sinegal opened Costco Wholesale, a no-frills discount warehouse. The business concept—to sell limited selections of high-end merchandise in bulk—took off across the world. Today, Costco ranks as the world’s fourth largest retailer.

Photo Courtesy Costco Warehouse Corporation


Grand Opening
Ho Chi Minh CIty, Vietnam, 2013

Howard Shultz borrowed a coffee culture from Milan. He put a double tall, nonfat, half-caff extra hot latte on the menu and saw business percolate in 62 countries. Starbucks has even opened a cafe in Vietnam, a top coffee producer with a culture of its own.

“I could imagine Starbucks opening up to a hundred cafes at most in Vietnam in the next 10 years,” said Dang Le Nguyen Vu, a Vietnamese coffee roaster. “But will people in a country with such a low GDP per capita, and a different taste in coffee, really accept Starbucks?”

In the next several years, Starbucks will expand its presence in Asia by nearly 2,500 coffeehouses. Some 1,500 stores will open in China, the company’s single largest market outside the United States.

Photo Courtesy Starbucks Corporation


Grand Opening
Ho Chi Minh CIty, Vietnam, 2013

One of five distribution centers in England Marston Gate, Milton Keynes 2006 With a savvy founder and ruthless competitor at its helm, Amazon.com started as an online seller of printed books. Today, the world’s top Internet retailer crosses industries at breakneck speed, selling everything from diapers to diamond rings. In 2007, Amazon.com revolutionized publishing with an electronic reader that translates digital books into 10 languages. In 2012, sales exceeded a reported $61 billion.

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As corporations increase their global footprint, conflict arises. An estimated 50,000 protesters converge on Seattle in 1999 and interfere with a meeting of the World Trade Organization. The disruption shuts down the city and imposes a State of Emergency. Courtesy Al Crespo