- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2002

A little "Magic" has been added to Howard University's coffee. Earvin "Magic" Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers superstar, officially opened his second Starbucks Coffee Co. location in the Washington area on Friday.
The shop, which is connected to the university's bookstore on Georgia Avenue, was crawling with fans hoping for an autograph or even a glimpse of the basketball legend-turned-businessman during the grand opening celebration.
It is the 38th Starbucks location in the country that is a part of a joint partnership between Johnson Development Corp. and the Seattle-based coffee giant.
The two companies teamed up in 1998 to open the coffeehouses in urban markets, which tend to be underserved communities that lack big-name retailers.
"There are significant business opportunities in these markets," said Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz.
Mr. Johnson said in an interview on Friday that these Starbucks locations are "paving the way for other retailers" to expand in these communities.
Mr. Schultz expects to open at least another 100 joint-venture Starbucks locations throughout the country. He and Mr. Johnson would not disclose any specific locations in Washington.
"We're actively looking for more sites [in the area]," Mr. Schultz said. "We recognize that this is a very attractive market."
The first local Starbucks affiliated with Mr. Johnson opened in Hyattsville in March 2000.
From point A to point B
Luggage giant Samsonite is debuting a new concept in the Washington and Baltimore market.
Point A, which is owned by Samsonite, is an upscale specialty store that will carry a variety of premium brands in addition to its own. The first store is opening on Nov. 15 at the Mall in Columbia.
The 1,800-square-foot store will carry brands such as Andiamo, Kenneth Cole, Travel Pro and Hugo Bosca. Only about one-third of the store's merchandise will be Samsonite products, says Michael Zucker, vice president of merchandising and marketing at Samsonite Company Stores.
Mr. Zucker says the other products aren't competing against the Samsonite brand.
"Samsonite is the dominant player [in the luggage industry], but we don't cover every price point," he says.
For example, the store will carry different brands of 22-inch-wide carry-on bags ranging from $140 to $595.
Samsonite also is converting its Samsonite World of Travel store at Tysons Corner Center into the new upscale concept. That store is not being rebuilt to look like the Columbia store but will carry the variety of high-end brands.
Mr. Zucker said the company does not have detailed expansion plans yet. Instead, Samsonite is waiting to see how the holiday season fares and then it will plan future stores.
"Looking down the road [the stores] will be at the better regional malls," Mr. Zucker says.
The existing 175 Samsonite outlet stores, which carry just Samsonite and American Tourister products, will not be converted into Point A stores.
Quick planning
Most Americans wait right up until the last minute to plan at least one of their vacations.
About 64 percent of leisure travelers or 83.1 million U.S. adults this past year have planned at least one of their trips within two weeks of taking it, according to the latest poll from the Travel Industry Association of America.
Most last-minute trips are short and less than 500 miles from home. The most popular reason for planning a last-minute trip is to visit friends or family.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality runs every other week.

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