Starbucks Is Trying To Revitalize The City Of Ferguson… And So Far It’s Working

Almost two years after protests and riots in Ferguson, MO over the death of Michael Brown, Starbucks wants to help revitalize the city. To this end, Ferguson’s first Starbucks will open on Saturday.

According to USA Today, the Ferguson location is the second of 15 stores that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz pledged to open in 15 “low-income or predominantly minority neighborhoods.” Almost all of the staff comes from within a five-mile radius of Ferguson, including the store manager, Cordell Lewis. This is what he says of the people he hired to work at this Starbucks location:

“My number one goal was to have a diverse team,“ Lewis said. “We have all walks in this building–African-American, Asian, white, male, female, gay, straight. Religious affiliations that go all over the place. That is Ferguson, that is these small communities, and I want us to really represent that.”

In addition, Starbucks used a local contractor that’s owned by a person of color to build the store, including a multi-use space to lend to local non-profits. The company has also partnered with Natalie DuBose, whose bakery was destroyed during the riots, to supply caramel cake to more than 30 Starbucks locations in the St. Louis area.

As a result, Starbucks’ efforts to revitalize Ferguson has actually gained some traction. Though it’s early, this still sounds way better than last year’s misguided “Race Together” initiative.

(via USA Today)