Starbucks and the Community
by Destry Teeter
When I enter the Starbucks coffee shop in the Palouse Mall in the small town of Moscow, Idaho, I get a rush of excitement and relaxation. The delicate decor of auburn and beige walls spotted with beautiful photographs of classic European alleys and majestic sunsets is the first to fixate my attention. A large mural hangs in the back hallway, its royal blue paint glowing the morning's sunshine. The smell of coffee is strong and the sound of the espresso machine's buzz can be heard in the open hallways of the mall. Enthusiastic people enter and leave, taking with them a piece of Starbucks magic.
The Starbucks coffee house chain started in 1971 in the downtown streets of Seattle, Washington in the center of the Pike Market place and has since bloomed to what is now a worldwide corporation. Through its employees and its successful business ventures, Starbucks has become a great help to communities around the world. With its ever-friendly employees and its deliciously rich coffee, it's no wonder that Moscow has embraced this wonderful coffee house.
After Starbucks began in 1971, its popularity grew dramatically. After about 15 years of spreading through different states and communities, Starbucks changed its name to Starbucks Corporation and began its world-wide business enterprise by opening a store in Vancouver, B.C. In 1995, Starbucks began selling CDs, motivated by a recently popular in-house music program. This boosted its popularity sky high. As of today, Starbucks has more than 7,000 stores with varying locations in more that 15 different countries. It has donated more than $6.5 million from its Starbucks Foundation, and about $500 thousand to nonprofit organizations across the United States and Canada through its Make Your Mark volunteer program (Starbucks Homepage). Starbucks is an ever growing and ever giving corporation that is willing to help millions face everyday troubles, whether it's learning how to read, or just getting motivated for work.
The employees at Starbucks are just as willing to help out as the corporation. "People from out of town that have just moved here are so glad that there's a Starbucks," says Mandy Minor, a full-time student who works 35 hours a week. She has been working at Starbucks for nearly 2 years, a year and a half of which was spent in a Starbucks in Pullman, Washington. Mandy likes to get to know her customers. "I enjoy people who are interested in us, interested in our lives," she says as she smiles and waves at a common visitor. "I feel that people come here for their drinks as a 'treat' in their day... and especially if there's a test students need to study for!!" The biggest group of customers come in around 3:00 in the afternoon on the weekdays, and it won't settle down till around 9:00 in the evening.
I've been getting coffee from Starbucks for well over 2 years, and I have never been disappointed with the tastes that fill my mouth. During the school years, it seems like every morning is met with a caffeinated beverage from Starbucks. It wakes me up and set's my mind on class work. Even outside of class I enjoy a hot or even chilled coffee from Starbucks to wake me up for an eventful day. I can recall one Friday afternoon, when my friends and I had planned to drive to Portland, Oregon for the weekend. We ended up not leaving Moscow till around 5:30 or 6:00 pm, and didn't get to Portland till 1:00 Saturday morning. The only thing that kept me awake for the trip was a cup of coffee every couple hours from Starbucks.
Aside from offering coffee to the locals, Starbucks has contributed to communities around the world. "Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow." This is the mission statement is summarized with six guidelines: one, provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity; two, embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business; three, apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting and fresh delivery of our coffee; four, develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time; five, contribute positively to our communities and our environment; six, recognize that profitability is essential to our future success. Through this statement, Starbucks has been able to grow and still retain its respectable qualities and morals.
Not only has it donated thousands of hours through its employees doing volunteer work for schools, literacy programs, and Walk-A-Thons on earth day, but the employees of Starbucks are also a part in the every day lives of their customers. "When Starbucks first opened, customers came in search of great coffee. As their visits became more frequent, many became regulars, dropping in for a cup of coffee or just a hello. Relationships formed and, more notable, our coffee houses evolved into community gathering places" (Starbucks 2003 Annual Report, 48).
Starbucks has contributed millions of dollars to thousands of communities. With these gracious donations has planted a seed in the hearts of its stores around the world that will bloom and give delight to its customers. Over the span of 33 years Starbucks covers the globe with more than 7,000 stores and 3 roasting facilities in the US. Starbucks has gotten a lasting reputation through its employee's helpful contributions to the local communities and its generous donation of hard-earned money. Tonight is Mandy's turn to close. She closes the front gate, turns off the espresso machines, arranges the furniture, turns off the lights, and locks the back door. Tomorrow someone will come in and start the whole day over again, and the place will start to fill with excited individuals and sleepy students coming in for their daily fix at the local Starbucks coffee house.
Annual Report, Starbucks Homepage. 29 September, 2003. 4 September, 2004.
Minor, Mandy. Personal Interview. 7 September, 2004.