Howard Schultz: Starbucks to Open Ferguson Store

Claire Zillman, Fortune, April 22, 2015

Howard Schultz said that the coffee chain will open a store in what has been an epicenter of racial tension in the U.S., one month after unveiling its controversial Race Together campaign.

Starbucks baristas may not be writing “Race Together” on customers’ coffee cups anymore, but CEO Howard Schultz certainly isn’t done talking about the nation’s touchiest topic.

On Tuesday, Schultz talked about his company’s efforts to address racial tension and announced that his coffee shop chain will open a location in Ferguson, Mo. as a “way to create employment.” {snip}

Starbucks has locations in nearby Jennings and Florissant, Mo., and six stores in Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, but none in Ferguson.

Schultz tucked the Ferguson store news into comments he made on stage at an event hosted by NationSwell, a digital media company focused on American innovation and renewal. Schultz’s appearance at the event focused on his company’s ongoing efforts to combat racism and inequality in the United States, its education benefits for workers, and its recent commitment to hire military veterans and so-called opportunity youths, generally described as unemployed 16 to 24-year olds who have not followed a traditional education path.

After his on-stage interview, Schultz told Fortune that there was no specific timeline for the opening of a Ferguson store, and he declined to provide more information about plans for the location there. A Starbucks spokesperson did not provide an opening date but said that the Ferguson store is “part of our plan to build more stores in urban neighborhoods.”

Whenever Starbucks ultimately open its store in Ferguson, a city that’s 70% black, the location will counter the heavy concentration of Starbucks locations in predominantly white neighborhoods. By crunching Census figures and a dataset of 11,500 Starbucks locations in the United States as of August 2014, Quartz determined that the density of Starbucks stores increases along with the whiteness of census tracts.

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