The world knows it as the Big Apple. It’s the most populous city in the U.S. with a reputation that “if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.”
“New York seems like a huge city, but I would share that it’s a lot of small, close communities that make up the whole. Every neighborhood has its dry cleaner, favorite restaurant, and Starbucks store,” said Andrew Alfano, senior vice president for Starbucks Northeast Division and U.S. Business.
Alfano, who grew up on Long Island, visited the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square Wednesday with 40 partners (employees) ringing the Closing Bell, marking Starbucks 20th anniversary in New York City and reflecting on the strong connections Starbucks stores have made in the community.
“Having been here for 15 of Starbucks 20 years in New York, what fascinates me is that 74 percent of our store managers are internally promoted partners,” said Alfano. “From 1994 to today, not only are we creating more jobs every year for the city, but we’re creating more opportunities for people to better themselves and their families right here. These partners are your friends, your neighbors, your family and they are deeply involved in the community.”
Two decades ago Starbucks opened in New York with 35 people proudly wearing the green apron. Today there nearly 5,000 partners who serve their communities with the same smiles, warmth and knowledge they offer to their customers on a daily basis.
Among their service last year, 500 Starbucks partners and customers spent 3,000 hours working with the United Way of New York City, providing Hurricane Sandy relief in several communities throughout the region. Projects were targeted to the needs of each neighborhood and included demolishing homes, rebuilding houses and installing insulation.
Partners also delivered supplies to relief centers. That is a role they’ve stepped into many times over the past 20 years.
“I was a partner here on September 11, 2001,” Alfano recalled in a subdued voice. “We used one of our stores as a staging ground supplying coffee and water to first responders. There are countless big and small ways that we care about the community we’re in.”
Although New York, and Starbucks, have evolved over 20 years, one thing that remains at the core of the company, he says, is the “emotional attachment our partners have with our customers and the great respect our leaders have for store partners.”
Currently, Starbucks has over 250 stores in the five boroughs, 204 of which are in Manhattan. That includes the site of Starbucks first community store, which launched in Harlem in 2011 to play a central role in supporting revitalization efforts to address education, employment, health, housing, and safety issues in the neighborhood.
“Every day is a ‘pinch me’ moment,” Alfano said. “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to see the growth of Starbucks in New York and the meaningful connections we have in the community.”