UPDATE: Starbucks finally confirms White Center store plan, after 4 months
8:42 AM: Four months ago, we reported first word of the permit application for White Center’s first Starbucks store, at the current Chevron site at 16th/100th. Starbucks, at the time, refused to confirm it. Now, the Seattle Times says they’re talking about it, and a job-training program that will be involved. We’re re-contacting Starbucks to seek details.
10:41 AM: Starbucks points out to us that the White Center plan is mentioned – though fleetingly – in a news release they published online very early today. It’s mostly about a new store opening in a Chicago neighborhood, but goes on to explain:
… The store is part of Starbucks nationwide initiative to support local economic development in at least 15 diverse, low- to- medium-income communities by 2018. Three such locations have already opened in Ferguson, Phoenix and the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, NY. Similar to those stores, the new location in Englewood will support efforts to revitalize the community by creating meaningful local jobs, providing a unique in-store job skills training program for youth, and investing in local minority-owned contractors and suppliers. Starbucks also announced plans to expand the national initiative to five new communities in 2017, including neighborhoods in the Baltimore, Birmingham, Long Beach, CA, Miami, and Seattle areas.
The “Seattle area” mention is a reference to White Center, which is not mentioned by name until later in the news release. We have requested a chance to talk with Starbucks’ point people on the WC project, to find out who they are partnering with here, and what the store’s construction/opening timeline is.
12:11 PM: They’re looking to open in mid-2017, Starbucks tells us:
As you can imagine, we are still working through a number of pieces, particularly on construction timelines, store design and agreements with local contractors, vendors and suppliers.
In terms of the youth job training program, we are currently considering local nonprofits to partner with and have not finalized an agreement yet. Our goal is to find a partner that knows the White Center community and what young people, particularly those who are not in school or employed, need in terms of connecting to jobs. The program is typically an 8-10 week training program that focusses on customer service and retail skills, based on Starbucks own industry-leading Barista Basics curriculum, which all our new store partners (employees) take when they start with the company. After completing the program, participating youth will have the opportunity to interview with Starbucks, or any other employer of their choice. [We’ve been testing the program here in Seattle for some time, and you can read more about that here. Lots of great learnings from this which we are applying to the trainings hosted in our stores through this initiative)
We are also simultaneously looking at local women- and minority-owned suppliers to feature a local product in the White Center store. We don’t have that finalized yet either, so it would be premature to announce any details. For e.g. in Englewood, we are working with a local bakery called Laine’s Bake Shop, to feature her Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie in the store. In Ferguson, MO, we worked with Natalie’s Cakes and More, a local business whose storefront was vandalized during the riots. Her Caramel Cake Chunks are now in our stores. In fact, Natalie’s cakes are doing so well that we’ve since expanded our order and now feature the cake in 32 St. Louis area stores. She has grown her business and her staff from two employees initially to more than 22. That’s the kind of success we hope to replicate in White Center next year.
As for construction and design, we will have more to share in the coming months. We are looking to open around mid-2017.
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