Robert Gehl reports Starbucks has been on the front line in the “culture wars,” often on the wrong side. But they’ve done good this time.
The omnipresent coffee chain is opening a chain of 37 “Military Family Stores,” staffed primarily by veterans and military spouses as a part of an effort to employ service members and their families.
In Clarksville, Tennessee, two miles from Fort Campbell, the first store opened as Shannon Feltz poured coffee for a group of veterans sitting at a table.
“Seventy-five percent of my business is the military,” 47-year-old Feltz, a 14-year military spouse whose husband is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, told Fox News. “We are so excited about this announcement.”
Feltz said she’s “never felt so supported by a company in my life.”
So far, two stores have opened in Texas, serving Camp Mabry in Austin and Ft. Bliss in El Paso, one in Rhode Island near the Naval War College, and another in Bedford, Massachusetts, just a few miles from Joint Base Hanscom.
What Else Is Starbucks Doing? The stores are part of a broader initiative to provide thousands of jobs to veterans and their family members – while also serving as de-facto community centers where current and former service members can connect, share stories, and support each other.
How Many Vets Will They Hire? The company said they’re committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses in the next eight years. They currently employ more than 10,000.
“Service members and military spouses are the best example of engaged citizens,” John Kelly, a Starbucks senior vice president, said.
“Long after leaving active duty, they continue to vote, volunteer and serve their communities at a high rate, serving as the best examples of citizenship,” Kelly said. “We are honored to serve as a place where these American heroes can continue to impact their community in a positive way.”
How Bad Is Veteran Unemployment? Fox News reports that about 453,000 veterans were unemployed in 2016. The unemployment rate of veterans for that year varied across the nation, ranging from 1.8 percent in Indiana to 7.6 percent in the District of Columbia. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that 39,471 veterans are homeless on any given night.
It’s good to see Starbucks try to turn their reputation around and do the right thing.
Written by TFPP Writer and published by the Federalist Papers Project ~ May 7, 2017.
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