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Starbucks to Increase Number of Coffee Shops in Poor Neighborhoods Across the U.S.

The coffee giant announced it would open or remodel at least 85 of its so-called “community stores” by 2025, according to an Associated Press report.

Starbucks is far from being what one might consider an economical option for coffee. Nevertheless, the coffee giant is eager to expand into poorer neighborhoods with its signature offering while also providing programs and jobs for locals, according to a report by the Associated Press

The brand wants to open or remodel 85 of its so-called “community stores” by 2025 across the U.S. in both rural and urban communities and hire local staff and crews in the process, the article stated. What’s more, Starbucks will also partner with local United Way chapters to create programs related to youth job training and more, according to the article. 

“All of these programs are with the intent of being purposeful and profitable,” Starbucks executive vice president of public affairs and social impact John Kelly said, according to the report. 

Kelly pointed to the 14 existing community stores the brand has in poorer areas. Another community store will open this year in Maryland, according to the article. 

“This is not charity,” Kelly said, according to the article. “These are successful stores. We’re defying a lot of the stereotypes and we’re proud to do so.” 

Critics of Starbucks can gripe all they want about the brand, but there’s no doubt the Seattle-based company is doing what it can to help. Just last week, the brand announced some new efforts around mental health. Not every employee was enamored with the idea, as much of their stress, they said, came from Starbucks itself due in part to staffing issues. Still, an effort to improve communities and encourage education, especially when the company in question is willing to keep things local and hire locally, is definitely worth watching.