Starbucks has returned to the Illawarra after 15 years, serving thousands of customers in just a few days at its new Warrawong store.
The coffee giant opened the store on Thursday, November 2 and a spokesperson said on Monday afternoon that the team had served close to 3500 people since.
Staff members were flat out serving drinks, cakes and sandwiches at lunchtime on Monday, with a constant stream of customers past the tills and a long line of vehicles waiting at the drive-thru.
Among those there were Shar Ryan and her goddaughter Airlie Osmond, from Shell Cove.
"It just looks good," Airlie said.
"It's new to the area and it's exciting," Shar added.
The pair came away with a salted caramel iced shaken espresso for Shar, and an ultra caramel frappuccino without coffee for Airlie.
The drive-thru store is located at the former Bunnings site - what is now known as the Bayview Centre - at the corner of King Street and Northcliffe Drive.
"Warrawong and the greater Wollongong area have been on our radar for some time," the Starbucks spokesperson said.
"We know that our drive-thru stores, with their large and comfortable cafes and speedy service, are just the kind of thing that consumers are seeking in growth areas such as Warrawong."
Starbucks Warrawong has 36 permanent staff members and is open every day from pre-dawn till late evening.
The Warrawong store is the only Starbucks in NSW outside Sydney, but it likely won't be the last.
A development application lodged with Wollongong City Council in May outlined plans for a Starbucks, as well as an El Jannah chicken shop and a petrol station, in Marley Place in Unanderra.
The council is yet to determine the application and has requested further information from the developer.
When asked about plans for the Unanderra store the Starbucks spokesperson was coy, saying the company was still working on where and when the next Illawarra store would open.
The Warrawong store's opening coincided with the beginning of Starbucks' Christmas campaign, which includes drinks with such festive flavours as gingerbread and peppermint.
The region's last Starbucks store, in Shellharbour, shut up shop in July 2008.
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