retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Seattle Times has a story about a store concept operated by the company that has, on one side, "an area, complete with refrigerator, sink, grinder and brewer, that can be partitioned from the rest and sets this store apart.

"It’s intended to be a community space and training area," the story says, "where young people aged 16 to 24 who are not working or in school can receive training on skills such as résumé writing and customer service, preparing them for jobs at Starbucks and elsewhere."

According to the Times, "The coffee company plans to open 15 nationwide by the end of the year in support of community development in low- to medium-income communities. The stores are intended to provide space for job-skills training, and to help with local economic development by working with local, minority and women-owned contractors and suppliers."

The story makes the point that not everybody is necessarily happy about what Starbucks is doing, seeing its efforts as the beginning of gentrification that could impact the diverse nature of these communities. But Starbucks seems to be focused on being both a good neighbor and a positive influence on the communities, focused on providing opportunities for development among these communities' young people.

I know there's a lot of discussion about the pros and cons about operating in low-to-medium income communities, but I think Starbucks is to be lauded for this approach. Sure, they're going to sell coffee, but they're also contributing something back.

It's an Eye-Opener, and worth noting.
KC's View: