Starbucks Opens in Ferguson, Missouri, Advancing its Commitment to Support Local Economic Development and Opportunity

Working with the community leadership of Ferguson, Starbucks launches
a long-term effort to create local jobs, provide training opportunities
for youth, and invest in local minority-owned businesses

New store marks a key milestone in Starbucks ongoing commitment to
open stores in at least 15 diverse, low- to medium-income communities

by 2018

FERGUSON, Mo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) today unveiled its first store in Ferguson,
Missouri, as part of a national plan to provide local jobs, create
training opportunities for youth, and support efforts to rebuild and
revitalize communities. Starbucks plans to open similar stores in at
least 15 low- to medium-income communities across the U.S. by 2018. With
an estimated 5.5 million young Americans not in school or at work, the
majority of whom live in some of the country’s most diverse, yet
underserved communities, Starbucks aims to make a long-term impact by
opening stores that will help provide a tangible boost to the local
economy and bring meaningful jobs.

“We’ve long considered how we can help deliver social impact in ways
that drive our business forward,” said Rodney Hines, Starbucks
director of Community Investments for U.S. Retail Operations
. “We
have always seen investments in the communities where Starbucks partners
live and serve as investments in our business and brand. As we got to
know the Ferguson community over the last year, we heard incredible
stories of strength, empathy and understanding. We also heard loud and
clear the need for business leadership and investment in the form of new
jobs and training opportunities, particularly for young people. That’s
why we are proud to be here with the community as we prepare to open our
doors. Together, we want to help demonstrate that coming to a city like
Ferguson is not just good for the community, but good for business too.”

Nationally, 1 in 7 young adults does not work or attend school1,
a challenge that is compounded in low- to medium-income communities like
Ferguson, particularly among young people of color. In the St. Louis
region, 14% of young people ages 16-24 – an estimated 48,000 young men
and women – are disconnected from jobs and educational opportunities2
and nearly half of all young African American men in the area are
unemployed, compared with 16% for young Caucasian men. In addition to
creating new local jobs, Starbucks will work with nonprofit partners
like the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis to provide a robust,
multi-week job skills training program for local youth, using a
specially-designed classroom space within the store. Starbucks hopes to
work alongside community partners like the Urban League to help address
some of the systemic barriers facing young people in the Ferguson area.

“Ferguson was an awakening for all of us to really take a hard look in
the mirror, and try to turn what was a tragedy into a triumph,” said Michael
McMillan, President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St.
one of Starbucks key community partners in the initiative.
“We saw people from all over the country wanting to be involved in our
community, and to give back and help. Yet, the number one thing we heard
from young people in Ferguson is ‘we need jobs.’ So we need to engage
these youth and we need to figure out how we can help them to get what
they need to be productive citizens. The work will take years to
complete. This is both a sprint and a marathon for our community, and we
urgently need other businesses like Starbucks to join us.”

“Ferguson is grateful to Starbucks for recognizing the strength and
resilience of our community by choosing to invest here,” said Ferguson
Mayor James Knowles III
. “The City of Ferguson and the greater North
County region have both obstacles to overcome, but also great potential.
Starbucks has shown their commitment to this region by helping our young
people with much needed job training, as well as their commitment to the
greater business community by partnering with local entrepreneurs to
deliver great services and products to our citizens. We are excited to
welcome Starbucks into the community and look forward to a long and
lasting community partnership.”

New Jobs, New Opportunities

The Starbucks store, featuring both a café and drive-thru at West
Florissant & Somerset in Ferguson, has hired 30 partners (employees),
many of whom are from the Ferguson or greater St. Louis areas, including store
manager Cordell Lewis
. Hiring locally is an important part of the
company’s strategy to support economic development and build stronger
connections with the community. With benefits like full health care
coverage and equity in the form of stock for both part-time and
full-time partners, as well as the Starbucks College Achievement Plan,
which gives partners the opportunity to get a bachelor’s degree from
Arizona State University with full tuition reimbursement, Starbucks will
provide Ferguson partners with the same opportunities available to
partners across the country.

“I was in essence the ‘opportunity youth’ we are trying to help,” said
Lewis, who has already enrolled in online classes at Arizona
State University through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. “I come
from a single-parent family and was lucky to have a coach who saw a
spark in me when I was a high school athlete. That helped me turn my
life around. Starbucks opening in this community means the company also
sees what Ferguson can become. It has its challenges, and we have to
have those conversations, but we also have so many young men and women
with a lot to offer, including our new team of partners. My goal is to
be their coach, to listen, and to help drive their passions. That’s the
type of leader I want to be – for my team and for our community.”

As part of its commitment to investing in the community, Starbucks is
also working with Natalie DuBose, owner of Ferguson bakery Natalie’s
Cakes & More
, which suffered extensive damage following
the rioting in 2014. In considering ways to invest in the local
community, Starbucks is now selling DuBose’s signature caramel cakes at
more than 30 St. Louis-area locations and will feature the product in
the new store in Ferguson. As a result, DuBose’s workforce has grown
from three to more than 20, double what it was when Starbucks broke
ground on the Ferguson location in November 2015. DuBose is also heavily
involved in the community, speaking regularly about entrepreneurship at
local high schools, hiring locally, and sourcing ingredients locally
whenever possible. Starbucks also worked with Simms Building
, a minority-owned general contracting and construction
management firm in the St. Louis area, to build the site.

A Pathway to Jobs for Local Youth

The Ferguson store will work with the Urban League of Metropolitan
St. Louis
to provide a unique in-store training program where young
people in the community will have the opportunity to enroll in a
multi-week retail and customer service skills training program. The
program meets a critical need for practical job training opportunities
for young people, many of whom are eager to start their first job and
work collectively to transform the legacy of the Ferguson community.

Starbucks is set to offer a similar training program for youth at its
new store in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, NY, working with local
nonprofit organizations like Queens Community House and the YMCA and
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow’s Y Roads program. Starbucks will
seek to build similar alliances in each of the 13 additional communities
it is considering in the national initiative, including stores in the
Englewood neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side and a remodeled store at 7th
& Camelback in Phoenix.

“Ferguson’s young people still remain hopeful and resilient,” said
McMillan. “An in-store training opportunity with Starbucks will go a
long way for a young person preparing for their first job. And that
first job is going to set them up for success and help open up a world
of opportunity. That’s why we wanted to work with Starbucks and together
find a way to use this new space to be so much more than a coffee shop,
but a hub for the kind of opportunities that might help a young person
get their start.”

About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically
sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with
more than 23,000 stores around the globe, Starbucks is the premier
roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our
unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring
the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer
through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit our stores
or online at and

1 Measure of America, One in Seven: Ranking Youth
Disconnection in the 25 Largest Metro Areas

2 Measure of America, Zeroing In on Place and Race: Youth
Disconnection in America’s Cities


Starbucks Media Relations