Starbucks Is Opening 100 Stores in Rural Communities Across America
When you're in the mood for an afternoon pick-me-up, many Americans head to Starbucks for a caffeine-filled beverage. But unless you live in a metropolis area, stores might be far and few between. To help serve more coffee-drinkers around the country, Starbucks just announced plans to open stores in different communities across the country.
By 2025, Starbucks will open 100 stores in underrepresented communities, the Seattle-based chain announced in a news release on January 16. The new locations will be referred to as community stores, which is an initiative Starbucks started in 2015. The focus on these stores is hiring local citizens and creating community spaces for people to come together. Since the inception of the program, Starbucks has opened 14 community stores across the country, including in Ferguson, Missouri; Birmingham, Alabama; and Jonesboro, Georgia.
"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," John Kelly, executive vice president of public affairs at Starbucks, says in the release. "Over the last five years, we’ve seen these community stores empower our partners and customers to create meaningful impact that is localized and relevant to their neighborhoods," he adds.
It's not clear when they'll open or where these new locations will be, but Starbucks explains it's considering factors including high youth unemployment, low median household income, and population stability for the openings. However, the company notes it will prioritize economically distressed areas and already has plans to open stores in Prince George’s County, Maryland; Anacostia, D.C.; and Los Angeles, California.
The company is also working with United Way, a nonprofit organization, to create activities tailored to each community to improve the livelihood of citizens. (For example, the store in Birmingham hosts skills training for youths and a location in Miami Gardens, Florida, features a mentorship program).
Currently, Starbucks has stores in more than 8,000 neighborhoods in the United States. (There are 31,000 stores around the globe). The new locations are expected to improve communities as well as give customers the chance to try the famous secret menu.