Starbucks recently opened its 11th Community Store and first in Alabama at Birmingham’s Crossplex Village in Ensley/Five Points West.
What is a Community Store?
Starbucks’ began the Community Store initiative in 2015 to help create local jobs and to connect young people to education and meaningful employment opportunities. This is done through local in-store training programs. To date, these stores have helped create more than 250 jobs and connect more than 1200 young people across the U.S to education and employment opportunities through local in-store job training programs.
Each of these stores has a dedicated in-store training space. Youth participants receive customer service training and retail skills training based on the same curriculum Starbucks’ partners receive. In the Five Points Crossplex Village 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.
Trainees will earn a National Retail Federation Customer Service Certification. This mean that they receive training in life skills, career counseling, financial literacy, pathways out of poverty, conflict management and resolution as well as entrepreneurial skills.
“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.”
Community Store Comes to Life
As with each of its Community Stores around the country, Starbucks worked with a local, minority owned general contractor to build the store. Birmingham-based African American artist Debra Riffe was hired to create a custom mural for the space.
Civil Rights Trail
Through a partnership with the Alabama Department of Tourism, the new store also carries maps of the Civil Rights Trail. The purpose is to create greater awareness about the civil rights movement for its patrons.
From the Community
Brian Voice Porter Hawkins of The Color Project Ensley and a resident, Tiffany Brown, were working at the community table at the new Starbucks this week. They are excited to see the store as well as other new businesses opening in the Ensley/Five Points West area.
“This is a beautiful store and before it opened, people would have to go downtown to meet in a community space, said Voice Porter. “The residents that live in the 35211 area are some of the most charitable and they give 50 percent of the total donations within the City of Birmingham. Residents living in this area also support and spend the most money in retail and this store is a fantastic addition to Five Points West.”
Tiffany Brown added, “It’s nice to have a place to work in my community. I’ve seen people who have never been in a Starbucks come in a try it for the first time, and that’s exciting. I look forward to other retailers opening in the Five Points West area.”
Through a grant, the Starbucks Foundation also has made a commitment to participate in and help organize the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Community Day on Sept. 29 at Kelly Ingram Park. The event will celebrate Birmingham’s diversity, youth leadership opportunities and civil rights history through educational programming.
“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. We are grateful for Birmingham’s support and guidance over the last year.”
You can visit the Starbucks at Crossplex Monday through Saturday 5:30 am – 9:00 pm and Sunday 6:00 am – 8:00 pm. It’s located at 2337 Bessemer Road in the Crossplex Village, Ensley/Five Points West.
Find out more about the Crossplex.