After a difficult 15 months, the Ferguson community is about to get a shot in the arm with a little bit of espresso thanks to a new business that’s creating buzz around town. Starbucks will break ground on a new location along West Florissant as part of the initiative to open 15 stores in lower income and predominately minority neighborhoods.
City leaders are calling it a big win that will stimulate the local economy.
“There’s a quiet, much-needed movement underway to rebuild Ferguson,” said Urban League CEO Michael McMillan. “Starbucks is stepping up and investing in our community in a way that will open up exciting opportunities for all.”
On Monday, Starbucks announced their plan to open five of these stores in 2016 – what the company calls a key strategy in its efforts of hiring 10,000 young people between the ages of 16-24 ‘who face systemic barriers to meaningful jobs and education.’ Each store will hire 20-25 employees on average from the local community.
“We have a long history of developing stores in diverse neighborhoods,” said chief community officer Blair Taylor. “And we hope to do even more to bring great jobs. We want to be part of the solution in these communities and help create a sustainable future for those who may be looking for a second chance.”
Starbucks said they also plan to contract out with local women and minority owned businesses to provide locally-made food products in stores. In Ferguson, they have partnered with Natalie’s Cakes for baked goods making a larger impact on the area.
“It does provide jobs which does help other businesses because they’re able to shop at other businesses,” said Ferguson councilman Brian Fletcher. “That’s an important factor. As well, it will produce additional economic growth.”
The first five stores include the Ferguson location, the Englewood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens, and one in Milwaukee while renovating a store in Phoenix.
On-site training space will be used to teach young people customer service and retail skills, the company said, while they also plan to partner with youth organizations and local governments to connect people with jobs.
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