Today’s Los Angeles Times featured a lengthy article on Peet’s Coffee‘s plans for extensive growth: Counting on Beans – Los Angeles Times.

After taking the company public in 2001, Peet’s still managed to retain the integrity of their coffee. But because Peet’s has only grown modestly since then, it has also avoided the quality pitfalls and tradeoffs of rapid growth. For example, as Starbucks fueled explosive growth, their roast expertise dwindled, they relied on fewer and larger bean suppliers to achieve brand consistency, and the average skill level of their employees plummeted to keep their doors open when new doors were being opened on a daily basis.

Apparently the perils of being a publicly traded company cannot be held at bay for long, as Peet’s now has extensive plans for rapid growth. The question is how, and whether, they will be able to achieve these goals while maintaining the artisan specialty of their product and retaining the level of professionalism in their culture.