“Community" means and looks different to everyone – to some it's the neighborhood they grew up in, for others, it’s a group of people rooted in the same values, interests, or culture. At Starbucks, community is about more than serving coffee. Everyday we are working to build more equitable, resilient and sustainable communities around the world. In 2015, we launched our Community Store Program to help strengthen the communities where we live, work and grow.
So what is a Community Store? These store concepts create environments for Starbucks partners to connect with, engage and represent the communities they serve in unique ways around the world. Community Stores around the world are inclusive of several store models, including Signing Stores dedicated to empowering the Deaf and hearing-impaired community, Military Family Stores designed to hire and honor service members, veterans and their families, and U.S. and International Community Stores that focus on providing economic opportunity in communities and creating impact in partnership with local nonprofit organizations. All of our Community Stores are driven by our partners because after all, our partners know their neighbors best.
Whether your New Year’s resolutions include international travel, community service or both, here are nine of Starbucks most unique Community Stores to add to your 2023 travel plans.
Seoul, South Korea – Latest Community Store in South Korea
Just last week, Starbucks opened its fifth Community Store in Seoul, South Korea. The beautiful store is within a redesigned theater at the historic Kyungdong market, offering a new opportunity for community members to engage with the brand in a known and beloved location. The spacious and unique store interior pays tribute to the historic theater with a retro touch of 1960s style and modern design elements, providing customers their favorite tastes of today with a feel of the past. A portion of all proceeds from the store are donated to the upkeep and vitality of this living landmark, and the store provides employment opportunities to community members to help create more pathways to opportunities in the Korea economy.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Signing Store
Located just down the street from the Gallaudet University campus in Washington D.C. stands a Starbucks signing store – the first of its kind in the U.S. Like Gallaudet, which is the only university in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to the Deaf and hard of hearing, the store is uniquely designed to empower the hearing-impaired community. To further Starbucks commitment to serving the community, construction of the store was accompanied by a $50k donation to the National Association of the Deaf. All store partners are proficient in ASL, whether they are hearing, hard of hearing or Deaf. For hearing customers, the store offers an opportunity to learn something, such as how to sign a word like espresso or gain insight into the Deaf experience by observing the way Deaf partners interact with each other or take orders without a word being spoken.
Just inside the doors of the store is a mural created by Yiqiao Wang, a Deaf artist, which features a host of letters, signs and symbols representing English, ASL, Deaf culture and coffee. “In the center of the piece, you can see two very strong hands, arms raised up, rising from the bottom of the artwork,” Wang said. “It means community in ASL, and bringing various backgrounds, languages and people all together.”
Gallup, NM – U.S. Community Store
In 2021, Starbucks opened its first location dedicated to the Navajo Nation, one of the most populous tribes in the U.S. The store, also Starbucks first Community Store in New Mexico, is staffed almost entirely by Navajo partners (employees) and reflects Navajo Nation pride with the store’s art and design.
Specifically, the space features a 20-foot-long mural of a Diné elder titled “Grandmother of Direction”, painted by Navajo artist, Daniel Josley, using warm colors to showcase the community of Gallup and the Navajo Nation. The store also features a dedication written next to the front door in both English and Navajo.
Seattle, WA – U.S. Community Store
For customers who like their coffee on ice, the Community Store within the Kraken Community Iceplex in Seattle is not to be missed. Since opening in September 2021, the store has become a hometown community fixture. The location also serves as a space to support the Northgate community – one of Seattle’s most diverse neighborhoods. The Kraken and Starbucks partner throughout the year to bring people together and foster a sense of inclusion and belonging through community programming, such as hosting field trips for kids at local Title I schools to visit the Iceplex and learn about the sport of hockey. This fall marked the store’s one-year anniversary, which Starbucks commemorated with a $50,000 grant to directly benefit North Helpline’s Homelessness Prevention program.
Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesia Signing Store
Starbucks Indonesia opened its first Signing Store in the region in December 2022, dedicated to the Deaf, hard of hearing, and sign language communities. The store offers sign language lessons and coffee workshops in sign language and provides a space for the Deaf community to conduct programs with two nonprofit organizations Starbucks has partnered with to support sign language education for the broader community.
The store is filled with design elements that bring communities together, such as an elongated oval shape community table, and circle details on the floor, both symbolizing the store as a means of uniting the community. However, the most notable feature is the signature artwork that can be seen by passersby in the street: a 4m (around 13 feet) high mural painting by Deaf artist, Indira Natalia, which extends more than 11m (36 feet) outside the store, depicting the warm and welcoming Starbucks experience.
Chicago, Illinois - Military Family Store
In May 2022, Starbucks dedicated its 100th Military Family Store (MFS) near Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago, Illinois - the only naval boot camp location in the U.S. The store features unique, military-specific artwork, including a handcrafted wooden American flag made by a local veteran and a military apron, gifted by a local Retired Colonel, who had his old uniforms upcycled for Starbucks partners to wear. Store leaders work closely with non-profits such as Blue Star Families, Midwest Veterans Closet and Canines 4 Comfort to drive impact within the community.
Anacostia, D.C. – U.S. Community Store
Designed to bring the community together, Starbucks Community Store in the historic Anacostia neighborhood in Washington, D.C features a colorful, panoramic mural inspired by its location in Anacostia. The artwork by D.C.-based Aniekan Udofia depicts the city skyline inhabited by historical figures and icons beloved by the community: Chuck Brown, the Godfather of go-go and musical movement leader; social reformer and American abolitionist, Frederick Douglass; a woman holding a boombox with a go-go inspired T-shirt; the famous Washington “Big Chair” that represents a seat at the table where everyone can come together; and a compass oriented towards “SE” that acts as a centerpiece of the store.
Located next to the Starbucks Anacostia Community Store is the Children of Mine Youth Center (COMYC), a local nonprofit dedicated to providing opportunities that are educational and encourage a safe environment for its youth populations. Over the years, Starbucks and COMYC have partnered to provide steadfast support for families in the neighborhood through after-school programs, activities and meals, many of which are not just for children, but for the whole family. The organization has also been recognized by The Starbucks Foundation over the years to help fund local meals and contribute to other community activities, most recently receiving a $5,000 donation through the Neighborhood Grant program.
Guangzhou, China – First Signing Store in China
Starbucks Guangzhou, China Signing Store serves as a welcoming hub for those passionate about improving accessibility and experiences for all and is located near the recognized Guangdong Disabled Association and Guangdong Deaf People Association. The store employs Deaf partners and hard of hearing partners from across China who are fluent in Chinese Sign Language. The store features exclusive artwork and unique merchandise designed by Deaf artists, providing a platform to celebrate Deaf culture and showcase the talent of the local Deaf and hard of hearing community. Wooden frames above the bar area are arranged to express the gesture of love in sign language. To create an inclusive environment and encourage customers to learn more about the Deaf community, the store also offers sign language lessons and coffee workshops in sign language for the community.
Los Angeles, CA – U.S. Community Store
The Watts Community Store was Starbucks 17th Community Store opened in the U.S. and the second in the L.A. area. Furthering Starbucks goal of bringing people and communities together, the store houses a training room designed for community events. Store partners are engaged with the community and have supported four local youth-focused nonprofits with neighborhood grants.
The store also features two murals on the exterior of the store, commissioned by local artist Mike Norice. Titled “Community and Love”, this artwork was inspired by the important aspects and events that shaped the Watts neighborhood into what it is today.