Starbucks reached a milestone today (September 22) by dedicating its 30th Military Family Store. An audience of veterans, military spouses, reservists and community members celebrated the store on Eglin Parkway Northeast in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Military Family Stores are located near major military bases and have been given the special designation as a place of welcoming and support for military communities around the country. The Starbucks® stores function as a hub within the military community, and are staffed with many veterans and military spouses. Partners (employees) in the stores help create a culture of understanding between military and non-military customers – an important step toward ensuring service men and women experience smooth transitions back into the civilian world. The stores also work with nonprofit organizations to provide services for veterans and their families.
“After we set out to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018, we committed to dedicating 30 Military Family Stores around the country to create a place to honor and celebrate service members and their families,” said John Kelly, senior vice president, Global Responsibility, Community & Public Policy. “These stores have become an important gathering place to reconnect veterans with their communities, support successful transitions and create career opportunities.”
With the support of the 30 Military Family Stores across the U.S., Starbucks will now focus on programs that address the specific needs of veterans, military spouses and active-duty service members. This includes Military Mondays, a collaboration between local veteran service organizations and Starbucks that offers pro bono legal support and other veteran and military spouse services at the company’s stores as well as Adopt a Military Unit, where store partners sponsor units and send care packages to those deployed overseas.
Building A Starbucks Career
As part of today’s Military Family Store dedication, Fort Walton Beach Mayor Mike Anderson shared his appreciation for Starbucks joining the community. Hang Owen, a representative from Blue Star Families, commented on the organization’s collaboration with Starbucks and ability to support the local military community.
Hiram Hernandez and Lenae Harris, partners at the Eglin Parkway Northeast store, highlighted the benefits of working at Starbucks. In their words below, they demonstrate the importance of Military Family Stores and Starbucks overall commitment to veterans and military spouses.
As an active duty soldier who has served for seven years, I have visited well over 100 Starbucks locations, not only within the United States but overseas as well. No matter where I have traveled – Germany, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Kuwait and more – I have been welcomed and embraced by every single barista that I’ve ever met. I have always been treated with respect and dignity similar to the way I am treated in the United States Army.
I decided to apply for a job at Starbucks because they’ve been committed to serving their partners, local communities, customers, and most importantly, service members of all branches of the military. I love what I do for my country and I am now able to serve two purposes: serve my country through the United States Army, and serve my local community by being a partner at Starbucks.
My journey with Starbucks began in January 2012, in my hometown of Spokane, Washington. As a single mom working two jobs just to make ends meet, I never thought this was where I would be in my life.
In 2013, I got married and moved to Alaska where my husband was stationed. My store manager in Spokane helped me transfer to a new store in Anchorage and when I went in for my first day, the partners welcomed me as if I had worked there forever. It was like they already knew me. That was when I knew I wanted to grow with the company.
As my passion for the company grew, so did my career. Even knowing that my husband could be deployed and I would have to move, they still took a chance on me. I was promoted to assistant store manager in 2014 and became a store manager a few months after.
Now, here I am today, working at a Military Family Store and I have yet another opportunity to meet and manage amazing people. I have learned so many things about this company and what it has to offer. Starbucks is like a second home to me; my home away from home. No matter where or how many times we move, I have a job. This means that I have coworkers who turn into friends, who then become family.