Global coffeehouse chain Starbucks will debut its first US Signing Store concept in Washington, D.C. later this year.
The design of the US store is based on the company’s first Signing Store that opened in Malaysia two years ago. Starbucks collaborated with a team of Deaf Starbucks partners and allies to open this store.
An internal team comprised of Starbucks’ deaf leadership, accessibility office and Access Alliance will support in opening the store as well as assist in training staff by raising awareness and understanding of the deaf experience in the workplace.
The new Signing Store is expected to create around 20 to 25 jobs for the deaf and hard of hearing community in the US. The coffee chain is also planning to hire people who are proficient in American Sign Language (ASL).
Starbucks US retail executive vice-president Rossann Williams said: “This is a historic moment in Starbucks’ ongoing journey to connect with the Deaf and hard of hearing community, hire and engage Deaf and hard of hearing partners, and continue to find ways to be more inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all.
“This store is truly from partners, for partners, and we couldn’t have gotten here without the team of Deaf partners and allies from our accessibility office and the Access Alliance partner network who came together to bring this vision to life. I look forward to the team welcoming the community to this store in October.”
Created and sponsored by the Deaf Leadership of the Starbucks Access Alliance, the store features a range of enhancements such as ASL aprons for deaf baristas, ‘I Sign’ pins provided to employees, an open environment for communication and low glare reflective surfaces.
In addition, the company will offer communication options for ordering and receiving beverages at the hand-off counter.