A new store in New York's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood focuses on welcoming—and hiring—local residents rather than pushing them out

A Starbucks opening in the area is often a sign of gentrification, but the chain’s new location in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood is looking to bolster the local community rather than force it out. Located near the Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn, this new store is taking an innovative approach: staffing its crew with 95% local residents and reserving space for community programming and job training.

The idea is that this Starbucks will enhance the current community rather than disrupt the neighborhood. For its opening coffee tasting, Local Council member Robert Cornegy and Starbucks corporate employees were on hand to answer questions and address concerns. The 2,500-square-foot location also features a mural painted by a local artist.

The Hope Program, a Brooklyn-based job-training NGO, will be using the space to host multi-week programs throughout the year, like training local young adults in financial literacy, job skills and interview procedures as a means to prepare them for future careers. There will also spoken-word, musical and other live events that will spotlight local talent.

“Three years ago, we began grappling in a deeper way with corporate responsibility,” Rodney Hines, Director of Social Impact for Starbucks, told Bklyner. “We have to be thoughtful about where Starbucks fits into a community.”

Starbucks is experimenting with its traditional format as it continues to expand its reach. A larger retail presence in China as well as the recent opening of its customer experience-focused Reserve flagship both show how the brand is evolving to best fit what its customers are looking for. Corporate responsibility is just one of the facets meant to strengthen the company and its image, and maybe build a more economically-diverse audience.

Starbucks

A Starbucks opening in the area is often a sign of gentrification, but the chain’s new location in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood is looking to bolster the local community rather than force it out. Located near the Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn, this new store is taking an innovative approach: staffing its crew with 95% local residents and reserving space for community programming and job training.

The idea is that this Starbucks will enhance the current community rather than disrupt the neighborhood. For its opening coffee tasting, Local Council member Robert Cornegy and Starbucks corporate employees were on hand to answer questions and address concerns. The 2,500-square-foot location also features a mural painted by a local artist.