Starbucks attacks jobs issue on two fronts
Global coffee retailer Starbucks has made U.S. jobs an issue in its stores, investing human and social capital on the project. Now the company is adding investment capital to the mix.
Starbucks announced Friday it would build its first company-owned manufacturing plant in Augusta, Ga. to manufacture its Via line of instant coffees as well as coffee bases for its in-store beverages such as Frappuccinos.
The $172 million plant will be ready by early 2014 and will employ 140 workers. The 180,000 sq. ft. plant will be designed to be LEED certified.
“As part of its ongoing commitment to helping communities thrive wherever it does business, the company also announced that it will invest $200,000 in community programs to support Augusta’s ongoing efforts,” the company said in a press release. “Over the next several months, Starbucks will work with elected leaders and civic organizations, including the Augusta Regional Collaboration Project – a local non-profit development group – as well as others, to identify, develop and support local programs focused on building long-term infrastructure that helps to galvanize a deeper sense of community engagement in Augusta.”
“During such challenging economic times, I am thrilled that we are creating jobs and building something special right here in Georgia,” said Peter Gibbons, executive vice president, Starbucks Global Supply Chain Operations. “Starbucks has long believed that there is a direct link between our success and the vitality of the communities in which we do business. With access to a skilled labor force, advanced technology, and critical transportation and logistics infrastructure, Augusta is a great example of how building high-tech manufacturing facilities in America makes good business sense while supporting the communities where our customers and partners live and work.”
Starbucks has made another investment in manufacturing, delivering an order through its supplier in East Liverpool, Ohio for ceramic mugs. In the process, the ceramics business has been able to rehire workers and stabilize the employment in that region. American Mug and Stein now makes the 12 oz. mugs that Starbucks sells at retail for $9.95. The company has pledged $2 of those sales to its Create Jobs for USA Fund.