George Howell (born 1945) is an American entrepreneur and one of the pioneers of the specialty-coffee movement in the United States in the early 1970s. He was the founder of The Coffee Connection, a high-end coffee retailer based in Boston, Massachusetts, which was acquired by Starbucks Corporation in 1994 and formed the nexus of their expansion into the Boston area. He is the founder of George Howell Coffee.
In 1974, Howell and his wife Laurie moved to Boston. Of the trip back east, Howell has said "In 1974 we [decided] to leave the West Coast, I already had two kids with another on the way. We decided to move east to Boston. We drove cross-country. I took with me some whole bean coffee and a grinder. We stopped at the various Howard Johnson’s that were on the interstates on our way and I would go into men’s room, grind the coffee there, leaving it smelling a whole lot better than when I walked in, and then I would take out my French press on the counter, ask for hot water for 35 cents and make my French press at the Howard Johnson’s counter. And within minutes I would always have several people around me wondering what that was, and this is before I even had any clue that I would get into a coffee business."
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