Honoring Service and Sacrifice of Veterans and Military Spouses at Starbucks

On November 11, Americans will recognize the service and sacrifice of the more than 21 million veterans in the U.S. On this day and throughout the year, Starbucks honors the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces.

Recognition of Service

From now through November 13, Starbucks company-owned locations in military communities across the U.S. will showcase gratitude banners and invite customers and partners to leave messages of thanks to the service men and women throughout the country and beyond. After Veterans Day, the banners will be delivered to different United Service Organization (USO) centers where they will be on display for military members to read and be recognized.

“We wanted to recognize the service and commitment of our military members and veterans on this special day,” said Matt Kress, manager, Starbucks Veterans and Military Affairs and a retired Marine. “Both Starbucks and the USO are looking to assist the men and women in the military and this is a symbol of our appreciation for all they do to protect our country,”

Customers will have additional opportunities to honor the military through November 11. For every Starbucks VIA® Instant purchase made on starbucks.com/shop (U.S. only), Starbucks will make a matching donation of Starbucks VIA® Instant to the USO for delivery to active duty service members stationed around the world. On Veterans Day, Starbucks stores across the U.S. will invite active duty service members as well as reservists, veterans and military spouses to enjoy a free tall-brewed coffee on Veterans Day as a gesture of appreciation for the military community’s sacrifice and contributions. In addition, Starbucks Veterans Cards will be available for purchase in select stores and on starbucks.com/card with $5 from every purchase donated to Transition 360 Alliance to help service members and their families transition to civilian life. Starbucks Veterans Mugs will also be available for purchase in select stores.

A Token of Honor

Inside the company’s Seattle headquarters, called the Starbucks Support Center, is a special wall adorned with quarter-sized silver medallions – each one etched with the name of a veteran or military spouse the company has hired since 2013. Known as the Honor Wall, this display is a way for Starbucks to recognize its partners (employees) who have either served in the Armed Forces or have a connection to service as a military spouse.

“In each coin there is a story,” said John Phillips, Starbucks vice president, Global Staffing. There are aspirations and career journeys from veterans or military spouses who embark on new opportunities with our company.”

Starbucks recently expanded the Honor Roll to accommodate medallions for the more than 5,500 veterans and military spouses to date who have joined Starbucks as a result of the multi-year hiring effort the company announced two years ago. Starbucks is more than halfway to its goal of 10,000 hires by 2018.

Support for Military Communities

Starbucks Military Family Stores employ many baristas and managers who are veterans or military spouses. The stores work with military and veterans service organizations in each community where they’re located. The company has already dedicated 16 Military Family Stores, with plans to have 30 across the country by the end of 2016.

The most recently-dedicated Military Family Stores are located outside these military bases: Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana; Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California; MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida; and The Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Showcasing Pride

Hundreds of thousands of Starbucks baristas wear green aprons, but only hundreds wear an apron that showcases the American flag along with a partner’s name and their military affiliation. Starbucks partners (employees) who are also veterans and military spouses are presented with patriotic aprons in recognition of their service and to inspire conversations between partners and customers.

The idea for the patriotic apron originated from a group of Starbucks partners who wanted to honor baristas with a symbol they could wear on their apron to demonstrate pride for their military service. Tim Bomke, senior product manager, Starbucks Technology Services and former Army officer, took the idea a step further.

“I thought about my wife being a Starbucks barista when I was in Iraq, and wondered what would have made her feel acknowledged for her sacrifices too,” he said.

Bomke took a Starbucks green apron to an embroidery shop to have the Stars & Stripes added slightly above the Starbucks Siren logo. In honor of his wife, he had her name and the words “Army Spouse” stitched on the apron in white lettering. Soon after the mock up was complete, Bomke received approval to pursue the concept. Today, thousands of veterans and military spouses wear the patriotic apron.

Read more Starbucks veterans stories here: Paying Tribute and Creating Opportunity

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How Starbucks partners help create change, one community at a time, with Neighborhood Grants