Starbucks’ Latest Store In Brooklyn Focuses On Local Community Building
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.
PSFK’s CXI 2018 conference brings to life key trends in customer experience through talks and activations by pioneers at well known and new companies.
Deena Varshavskaya is the founder and CEO of Wanelo (“wah-nee-lo,” from Want, Need, Love), the world’s largest mall, curated by people. Millions of shoppers use Wanelo to discover and buy from over 20 million products and over 350,000 stores, which include big brands and independent boutiques and sellers you’ve never heard of, all in one place on your phone. Deena started Wanelo after being frustrated with shopping in traditional malls. Her personal style didn’t fit a simple category, and she wanted to shop in more unique places. She decided to create a social network that would make it easy to discover amazing stores and products from anywhere online. Deena worked on Wanelo for more than two years using her personal savings to build the site and attract its first users. In 2011, she moved to San Francisco, and she launched Wanelo in 2012 after receiving 40 investor rejections before finally closing her first round of funding. Deena has been named one of the "Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs" for two years in a row by Goldman Sachs and was recognized by Forbes as one of "The Power Women Who Are Reinventing The Way You Shop Fashion Online." She has also been highlighted in Fast Company’s "Most Creative People in Business" list and is named as one of 15 “up-and-comers to keep an eye on” in Vanity Fair’s "Next Establishment" list. The National Retail Federation recently recognized Deena as an “Influencer” reshaping the retail industry. Originally from Siberia, Deena moved to the U.S. at the age of 16 and dropped out of Cornell University two classes short of graduating. She currently lives in San Francisco and can be followed on Wanelo, Twitter and Instagram at @siberianfruit. Check out her exclusive interview with PSFK & HP/HP Matter here!
At PSFK 2017, Peloton Co-Founder and COO Tom Cortese discussed how the company aims to utilize the power of Web 2.0 to marry the comfort of home fitness to the high-energy engagement of celebrity-run classes.