The Seattle-based coffee giant that has cultivated a reputation for being socially responsible is expanding its effort to put more coffee shops and create more jobs in poor neighborhoods. Starbucks plans to open or remodel eighty-five stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the US. Each store will hire local staff, including construction crews and artists, and will have community event spaces. The company will also work with local United Way chapters to develop programs at each shop, such as youth job-training classes and mentoring.
From my perspective, Starbucks is setting a powerful example. The programs they are implementing train youths for jobs they enjoy and profit from in some way. Plus, the programs keep young people off the streets, where violence too frequently occurs.
I am very familiar with Starbucks, since many are located in the city where I live. Even though I seldom drink coffee, surely I will purchase other items such as mugs, ornaments, and stuffed animals to support their efforts.
Starbucks is establishing a precedent regarding what businesses can do in poverty-stricken areas. Dear Readers, do you know of other businesses that have expanded into underprivileged areas? And if so, what effect has that had on the larger community? All comments are most welcome!