Story at a glance

  • Starbucks has partnered with United Way to expand their Community Store Program Initiative, launched in 2015.
  • The company says it has generated millions of dollars in indirect economic development and hundreds of local jobs in store locations.
  • Its new goal is to have 100 Community Stores open by 2025.

Starbucks announced Thursday that it will expand a program that aims to support low-income communities by adding more local jobs and connecting employees with education opportunities, as well as creating space for events and featuring local artwork.

The coffee shop chain plans to launch 85 new or remodeled "Community Stores" in low-income and economically vulnerable U.S. communities by 2025, a decade after after it announced the program in 2015. John Kelly, executive vice president of public affairs at Starbucks, said the company has already "learned a great deal" from its existing 14 community stores.

The program's mission is to hire local staff for every aspect of the store operation, from construction to art design to daily management. The stores will also be outfitted to include community spaces to help bridge socioeconomic gaps and challenges specific to their locations.

The first store opened with this agenda was in Ferguson, Mo., about two years following the protests of a police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Since then, 13 other stores have opened in locations like Baltimore, Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, and Jonesboro, Ga.

Starbucks estimated the 14 stores have created 300 jobs. It also said they have generated more than $59.7 million in indirect economic development that have contributed to more than 1,110 indirect jobs.

In deciding where to locate the 85 new stores, the company said it will take youth unemployment and median household income into account.

The expanded program is a partnership between Starbucks and United Way, a nonprofit that invests in underserved communities for an improved quality of life.

Suzanne McCormick, president of the U.S. chapter of United Way, said “United Way and Starbucks share a commitment to ensuring every person has the opportunity to thrive, and we’re honored to partner with them.” She also said they're optimistic about “deploying United Way’s local expertise to help Starbucks Community Stores make a real difference.”

This spring, the new community-oriented Starbucks will include locations in the Washington, D.C., region, both in Prince George’s County, Md, and in the Anacostia neighborhood of the nation's capital.

We believe it is our role and responsibility to partner with those in the communities we serve to help make a positive economic and social impact,” Kelly said in a statement.


Published on Jan 16, 2020