NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I must humbly brag, but please allow me some latitude to set up that brag with a somewhat related story in honor of my veteran Grandfather, who turned 80-something the other day.
Back when I worked in Dallas, I was lucky enough to be close to the Dallas Stars hockey club. Attending the games and doing my radio show, I would interface with some of the players and former head coach Ken Hitchcock on occasion.
As I have my entire life, I would also talk hockey from time to time with my Grandfather in person and on the phone. For reasons I'll never completely understand, he has never been a fan of Wayne Gretzky. My Grandfather's an Original Six guy. A Montreal Canadiens fan dating back to a period we tend to blanket as "old-time hockey."
At some point around the year 2000, when Number 99 played for the New York Rangers, my Grandfather kept telling me the Rangers were a better team without Gretzky. He argued that when Gretzky was in the lineup, all his teammates tried to do was get him the puck, blowing up the team's system in the process. I thought he was nuts.In the elevator one afternoon at the old Reunion Arena in Dallas, I ran into Ken Hitchcock. "Hitch, you have the Rangers tomorrow. Gretzky's back. Going to be a tough one," I said. The head coach's reply went something like this: You know, Rock, I think the Rangers are actually a tough team to play without Gretzky. When he's in the lineup they don't stick to their system quite as well. I got to a phone as quickly as I could, called my grandfather and told him what Hitch said. My Grandfather's almost immediate response: "See, an NHL coach agrees with me." Repeated, repeatedly, with feeling. My similar moment isn't quite as thrilling, however, connecting the two allows me to mention my Grandfather on Veterans Day. It's all good.
Starbucks: Urbanizing TeavanaOn June 28, 2011, I said Teavana Needs to Penetrate Urban Areas to Become a Buy prior to the company's IPO. On January 24, 2013, Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz said this shortly after his company acquired Teavana:
And we will expand Teavana's current 300-store footprint from largely mall-based stores to urban street locations, where Starbucks obviously has very strong capabilities and ultimately we will reinvent the tea category, just as we did the coffee category 40 years ago.Boom. America's greatest living CEO agrees with me! I'm interested to see how the urbanization, if you will, of Teavana unfolds. Starbucks has already penetrated Manhattan with Teavana locations. There's so much potential here, domestically in urban areas and around the world that I would be willing to buy SBUX stock, especially on dips, based on the growth prospects of a now properly-run Teavana alone. (TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits me from owning individual stocks). Add in the core Starbucks brand, its growth prospects and a social, mobile and overall digital strategy expertly applied across the board and you have what amounts to tech's best untold, underrated and most extraordinary story. Not to mention an investment you should be able to keep in the family for generations. Follow @rocco_thestreet --Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
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