Times Staff Report
More than 75 community and civic leaders from across Birmingham, including Mayor Randall Woodfin and District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt, came together recently to mark the opening of Starbucks new Community Store in Crossplex Village in Five Points West neighborhood.
The new Starbucks location is the company’s first Community Store in Alabama and 11th nationwide. The new location is staffed with a team of 30 Starbucks employees, all of whom are from Ensley and the 5 Points West area, including store manager Tammy Hudson.
“We are very excited about having Starbucks in Five Points West as a retail partner. Not only is this a viable employment opportunity for our residents, but Starbucks’ commitment to civic engagement shows a willingness to be a true partner in our communities,” said Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “Their dedication to furthering Birmingham’s rich history, as well as providing workforce development opportunities, is a model all incoming businesses should employ.
“We are honored to have Starbucks open in District 8 and engage the citizens in the entire City of Birmingham and surrounding areas. Our young people, especially, get to take advantage of the tools of outstanding workforce development and work ethics,” Councilor Hoyt said. “This factor, along with the economic revitalization and additional educational opportunities available, in itself, speaks volumes to the remarkable vision of this company; it is reshaping our neighborhoods and igniting the momentum and potential of our youth today.”
As with each of its Community Stores around the country, Starbucks worked with a minority owned general contractor to build the store and commissioned a custom mural for the space by Birmingham-based African American artist Debra Riffe.
Starbucks has also partnered with The Dannon Project in Birmingham to launch a retail and life skills training program for local youth, using a specially designed classroom space within the new store. The new Community Store will also carry maps of the Civil Rights Trail for local customers and partners through a collaboration with the Alabama Tourism Department, supporting efforts to drive greater awareness about the history of the civil rights movement.
Through a grant from the Starbucks Foundation to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Starbucks also announced that it will work with the Institute to organize a community day at the historic Kelly Ingram Park on Sept. 29 to celebrate diversity in the community and promote leadership for opportunity youth. The community day will combine educational programming about the history of the civil rights movement with a service provider fair featuring local nonprofits and community groups.
“The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, part of the newly designated Birmingham Civil Rights Monument, applauds the launch of this Starbucks Community Store as a tangible incentive to engage and empower neighborhood youth,” says Andrea L. Taylor, President & CEO. “As the ‘Magic City’ looks to the future and the projected growth in technology start-ups and tourism related to our civil rights legacy, the store opening marks a new era of opportunity for our youth.”
Since announcing the Community Store initiative in 2015, Starbucks has opened 10 other similar locations including in Ferguson, Mo.; Englewood in Chicago’s Southside; East Baltimore; Miami Gardens; Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Seattle’s White Center. Together, these stores have helped create more than 250 local jobs and connect more than 1,200 youth to education and meaningful employment opportunities through local in-store training programs. The company will open three more stores in Dallas, New Orleans, and near Atlanta, in the coming months, with many more in the pipeline for the years ahead.
“As we expand the Community Store initiative across the U.S., we carefully consider the role Starbucks can play to support efforts underway to drive economic revitalization and social change in communities that are underserved,” said Rodney Hines, Starbucks director of social impact for U.S. Operations. “By investing in Birmingham and opening this beautiful new Community Store, we demonstrate that businesses like ours can in fact work with local leaders to advance economic opportunities for all.”
Each of these stores, including the location opening in Birmingham, has a dedicated in-store training space where young people can receive customer service and retail skills training, based on the same Customer Service Excellence Training Curriculum Starbucks partners receive. In this store, the Starbucks Foundation will support The Dannon Project to implement a multi-week training program for at least 100 local youth within the first year.