Every day, coffee brings people together. In Starbucks stores, on multiple continents, people gather to share stories, to share their concerns, their challenges, their joy and their smiles. Many times, our stores become hubs in your communities, our baristas your friends and familiar faces.
Over the last year, Starbucks Stories worked to document some of the magic that happens over coffee — among customers, partners, coffee farmers and big company moments.
In 2019, we traveled to all 50 states to listen to our customers and explore the humanity that happens in our stores. We opened a new Roastery on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. We spent time with coffee farmers and learned from them. We brought all our U.S. and Canada store managers together to reestablish and remind ourselves of the Starbucks values. We met an 82-year-old customer who regularly goes skydiving with baristas at his local Military Family Store in Colorado Springs. Each of these moments was a reminder of the importance of the Third Place and how Starbucks can play a valuable role in all our communities.
“If you walk up to a perfect stranger sitting at a Starbucks, will they share their story?”
That is the question we asked ourselves when Starbucks Stories visited all 50 states — and a few Canadian provinces — to have conversations with customers and to listen to your stories. We met families, refugees, cowboys, politicians, poets, military veterans, farmers, activists and people working to preserve their culture. The journey was a strong reminder of what the United States is all about, who we are collectively and that sitting with a stranger and having a deep conversation can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Read more.
An outbreak of coffee leaf rust is challenging coffee farmers in Central America — including on the Pacheco family farm in the Jalapa region of Guatemala. A 2016 donation to the Pacheco farm of 6,000 rust-resistant trees, as part of Starbucks’ 100 Million Trees program, is helping. As of the end of 2019, more than 40 million coffee trees have been donated in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. And this year in Guatemala, the trees produced their very first harvest. Read more.
Atlanta-based visual artist Marryam Moma is shown in the community room at the Jonesboro, Ga., Starbucks Community Store. The store features Moma’s collage art and celebrates Atlanta’s rich cultural heritage of human connection, empowerment and beauty. The Jonesboro store is part of the company’s ongoing initiative to support economic development in diverse, underserved areas of the country. Each location, including the store in Jonesboro, aims to support the community by creating new jobs, engaging minority-owned businesses and collaborating with local nonprofits to support and create needed opportunities for the community. Read more.
Starbucks coffee quality experts cup samples of coffee sent to the Seattle headquarters from around the globe. Cupping of coffee is similar to the work done by a wine sommelier, where quality is recorded and validated by an expert team of super tasters.
Victor Gelner, 82, is shown with Starbucks store manager Jennifer Roxburg at the Starbucks Military Family Store in Colorado Springs. Glener, an Army veteran, experienced decades of significant post-traumatic stress after serving in Vietnam beginning in 1962. The retired Army sergeant major tried many treatments and started skydiving at 79 to help deal with his PTS. After his first jump, he went back to his Starbucks store and invited the store manager and baristas to go with him. Gelner now has over 200 tandem jumps and has jumped multiple times with the store baristas and managers. Read more.
On the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, Starbucks produced Hingakawa, a short documentary about the friendship between two women. Vestine is Tutsi and lost most of her family in the genocide. Genevieve is Hutu and her husband was involved in the looting. Today, they are best friends and fellow coffee farmers who rely on each other. The film explores the complexity of what it means to forgive — and how the women found a path forward together. Read more.
Starbucks partners prepare to serve coffee to thousands of attendees at the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders at WaMu Theater in Seattle. It’s a tradition at the annual meeting to have a surprise musical guest, and Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson closed the 2019 meeting by introducing “one of Washington’s greatest treasures,” special musical guest Brandi Carlile. Read more.
Melanie Wood and her family, including (L to R), son Jordan, 12; husband, Patrick; son Jaxon, age 8; and her daughter Brooklynn, 6, relax at their home in Killeen, Texas. For many years, her goal of becoming a teacher seemed out of reach. One day her husband, Patrick, a Starbucks store manager and Army veteran, came home to tell her about the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Patrick had already earned his degree in 2002 and since he was a veteran, he could gift his SCAP benefit to his wife. Wood is now an elementary school teacher with a degree from Arizona State University. She earned her degree online with 100 percent tuition coverage as part of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan for Starbucks partners who work 20 hours a week or more. Read more.
The largest conference in Starbucks history brought together 12,000 store managers and company leaders in Chicago. The 2019 Leadership Experience was designed to help transform leaders and solidify the foundation of the company. At Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center, Starbucks partners were able to walk through two replicas of the Pike Place store, rake coffee beans as they explored a replica of the visitor center at Hacienda Alsacia, Starbucks farm in Costa Rica, and learn about roasting, coffee sourcing and innovation happening in the Tryer Center at the company’s Seattle headquarters. Read more.
Musician John Legend performed at Chicago’s United Center during the Leadership Experience, bringing the thousands of assembled Starbucks partners to their feet. Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president, president, U.S. Retail, sets the stage during the opening general session.
Roz Brewer, Starbucks chief operating officer and group president, performs the “Cupid Shuffle” with Starbucks store manager Stephanie Campfield. Campfield manages a store in Trenton, New Jersey and has created a local hub, hosting events and a regular open mic night — which closes out every Saturday night with all partners, performers and customers performing the dance.
Inside Ryan Wooten’s West Hollywood, Calif., apartment is one of his most poignant possessions: a black box that once held a Prada messenger bag he bought to spoil himself, after he was diagnosed with HIV. Now, it holds dozens of empty prescription bottles, reminders of the medication he’s used to keep himself alive. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, can now be suppressed with a once-a-day pill regimen — to the point where the viral load is undetectable and not even transmittable. Since Wooten’s diagnosis, the store manager has become an advocate for people living with HIV and AIDS. In 2020, he will take a sabbatical from his role with Starbucks to join the Peace Corps in Namibia, a sub-Saharan African country where approximately 200,000 people live with HIV. In the photos above, Wooten looks at his pill bottles, left, and meets with partner Alina Jackson at their store in Los Angeles, right. Read more.
Seattle police officers, Starbucks partners and customers gather at the East Olive Way Starbucks store for a Coffee with a Cop event. Starbucks stores around the country regularly host the events where Starbucks partners and customers can spend time with law enforcement officers in their respective communities. The conversations and events, which Starbucks has been hosting since 2011, are meant to help build community through conversation, understanding and empathy. Read more.
Starbucks Service Fellows work at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) community garden in Seattle during a conference for the partners. The Starbucks Foundation Service Fellows program is designed to provide needed day-to-day support to local nonprofit organizations, while providing an opportunity for Starbucks partners to pursue their personal passion to get involved in their communities. Read more.
At five floors and 35,000 square feet, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago is officially the largest Starbucks in the world. It is also an enchanting and immersive coffee wonderland. The Roastery opened in November on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, featuring a unique menu of Starbucks Reserve specialty coffee, boutique Milanese Princi bakery, and Arriviamo Bar featuring coffee cocktails. The Roastery joins locations in Seattle, Shanghai, Milan, New York and Tokyo. Read more.
The Reserve Roastery Chicago features a 56-foot steel cask, a sculptural blend of form and function, where coffee beans go to rest and de-gas after being roasted. On the roof, coffee ages in whiskey barrels. The Roastery repurposes Chicago’s iconic Crate & Barrel building on the Magnificent Mile.
During the opening VIP party at the Chicago Roastery, Chance the Rapper performed as a guest DJ.
Crate & Barrel founder Gordon Segal and Kevin Johnson, Starbucks chief executive officer, toast during an event celebrating the opening of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chicago. Segal and Starbucks co-founder Howard Schultz had known each since the early ’80s. At one point, not long after they met, Starbucks contemplated leasing space in Segal’s Crate & Barrel building. Today, it’s the location of the new Roastery. Read more about how a chance meeting paved the way for the Chicago Roastery.