Message from Kevin Johnson: Impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and chief executive officer shared the following letter with all partners on September 11, 2017.


This morning, I had the honor of commemorating the 16th anniversary of 9/11 with former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Team Red White & Blue and Support Center partners. The unity we saw and felt as a nation immediately following the events of 9/11 was a testament to the idea that adversity brings out the best in us as people, as citizens, and as partners. Before a crowd as diverse as America itself, I spoke of how times that test our strength ultimately make us more resilient.

It is hard to imagine that two weeks ago, we were first watching the devastation of Hurricane Harvey unfold as it swept through Southeast Texas and Louisiana. Harvey affected more than 5,600 partners and their families. I’m pleased to share that all partners in Texas and Louisiana safely survived Hurricane Harvey. We are repairing the damage and – when and where it is safe to do so – reopening more than 400 stores. Many of these stores had been closed for several days prior to Harvey’s landfall while others have been closed since the storm struck. It will be many more days before these communities and our customers return to anything approaching a normal routine.

As we continue to take care of our partners and resume operations in Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma has passed over Puerto Rico and made landfall in Florida. As this unimaginably large and powerful storm approached the Southeast U.S., we immediately put in place the same measures we did for Harvey to take care of more than 10,000 partners expected to feel Irma’s effects. As with Hurricane Harvey, these measures include issuing catastrophic pay, expediting an unprecedented number of CUP Fund grants, and closing stores prior to mandatory evacuation orders to ensure partners had the greatest opportunity to prepare their stores for potential storm damage and, more importantly, prepare themselves and their families.

We shuttered more than 700 stores across the Southeast and Puerto Rico, preceding Hurricane Irma. Nearly all of these stores remain closed, and we continue efforts to confirm partners are safe. We expect an even longer recovery period for these communities given the number of partners who evacuated, ongoing power outages, the effects of a devastating storm surge, and other storm-related impacts across much of this region. Like most retailers impacted by these storms, we are still assessing the impact they will have on our business and operations, but we do expect the store closures, dislocations and extraordinary hurricane-related expenses to have some impact on our current quarter financial results.

Once again, we are reminded that Starbucks remains that third place for millions of customers who visit us as part of their daily routine, where communities come together and where human connection can provide a brief respite in times of profound challenge. Even if only for a short while. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma may have inflicted violent and horrific destruction, but I remain confident that just as the American people demonstrated on 9/11, we will rise to the challenge of recovering from these storms and emerge even stronger – as individuals, as teams and as a company.

Proud to be your partner,