NEW ON THE BLOCK: Starbucks invasion underway

STARBUCKS opened the first of five planned locations in Panama on Thursday, July 6. The others are scheduled to open  in the next eight months. A total of 20 stores are on the cards to be operating  in the next five years.

The first location is in the Street Mall shopping center on the corner of Via Israel and Via Brazil,  near MultiPlaza. It will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight. Over the next two weeks the company  will begin hiring personnel for its second store, set to open in October

Company officials are hoping to open another four stores in a span of eight months.
David Batres, managing director of Starbucks for Central America, said that the Panamanian stores will feature local coffee from Volcán, Chiriquí.
Each store will have 20 employees.

Panama is the 15th market in Latin America that the chain has entered.