Starbucks has opened its first signing store in Guangzhou, China, in order to offer more employment opportunities to the deaf and hard of hearing community.
The coffee chain says the store will serve as a welcoming hub for those passionate about improving accessibility and experiences for all people and is located near the Guangdong Disabled Association and Guangdong Deaf People Association.
“As a coffee leader deeply rooted in China, for China, Starbucks is committed to creating equal opportunities for everyone, as well as a unique third place experience that addresses a wide range of community needs. The new signing store is an example of how we are building inclusive environments and careers for our partners,” says Belinda Wong, Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks China.
“This store truly creates a sense of belonging for everyone and is a strong testament to our continued commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive working environment.”
Starbucks has partnered with the Guangdong Deaf People Association offering professional skills training, including sign language courses, and internship opportunities at the store.
“The Guangdong Deaf People Association is proud to partner with Starbucks to provide training and opportunities for the deaf and hard of hearing community,” says Yitao Fan, Vice Chairman of China’s Deaf People Association and President of Guangdong Deaf People Association.
“Thanks to Starbucks, deaf partners are empowered to develop their careers in a vibrant and supportive environment, while the store provides a strong platform to drive societal awareness around deaf culture and the needs of the community.”
The deaf and hard of hearing community will be able to contribute exclusive artwork and merchandise that will be featured within the store.
In addition, Starbucks will have sign language symbols on its umbrellas, throughout the store, and on baristas aprons. Customers will be able to communicate using a notepad and two-way digital displays.
The store will also offer sign language lessons and coffee workshops in sign language to customers.