Starbucks to open store in Jamaica, Queens in 2016

Starbucks is opening a branch in Jamaica in 2016.
Starbucks is opening a branch in Jamaica in 2016. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

A Starbucks latte is usually the same no matter the store. But now Starbucks is aiming to have a lasting impact on the community in which they reside, too.

The popular coffee brand is opening new branches in Jamaica, Queens and Ferguson, Missouri, as well as three other “diverse, urban communities” across the United States. 

In Ferguson, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed last summer followed by months of demonstrations and protest, Starbucks saw “promise.”

Director of community investments Rodney Hines “thought that despite the burned-out buildings and broken windows the essence of a viable community could be seen,” according to a press release.

“There should be a Starbucks here,” he said. 

The company is also partnering with a local bakery, Natalie’s Cakes and More, and will carry their products in some of its stores in the area. 

The new branch in Jamaica is set to open in 2016, part of the company’s goal to hire 10,000 “Opportunity Youth,” or those between the ages of 16-24 “who face systemic barriers to meaningful jobs and education,” according to an announcement earlier this month.

“We have a long history of developing stores in diverse neighborhoods and we hope to do even more – together with the community – to bring great jobs, engage young people and drive economic opportunity for all,” said Blair Taylor, chief community officer for Starbucks, in the release.

The plan includes hiring 20-25 new employees from the area, which would provide hirees the chance to gain retail experience and benefits, as well as access to a tuition-free online education, which Starbucks offers qualifying workers. Similar stores are slotted to open in Chicago, Milwaukee and Phoenix.

Officials say local women- and minority-owned companies will be used for the design and developmental aspects, and local food products would be sold in the stores.

“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,” Taylor said.