Starbucks is making moves to become a more inclusive, accessible, and eco-friendly coffee shop this year. First, the store overhauled their customer-only bathroom policy after an incident involving the police earlier this year, then they announced they’re going straw-free, and now the company will open up a new store dedicated to making ordering coffee more accessible and comfortable for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and their allies.
Today, the coffee chain announced it will expand on its existing international Signing Store and open one in America because everyone should be able to enjoy a coffee or pastry anywhere and anytime.
Right now, Starbucks is working to interview and hire people who are deaf and hard of hearing who are also fluent in American Sign Language to work at the new store, which will be located in Washington D.C.
At the new Signing Store, baristas will wear new Starbucks aprons that were embroidered by a Deaf supplier, and employees who sign will wear an “I Sign” pin.
Starbucks is also working to ensure the store will be a “Deaf Space” and will be an “open environment for communication.” In addition to employees who are fluent in signing, there will be low glare reflective surfaces and visual communication tools to help when ordering and picking up drinks at the counter.
And for those who love Starbucks merchandise, the company will create artwork and merch that’s designed by Deaf artists.
The Signing Store will open in early October at an existing Starbucks in Washington D.C. at 6th and H Street.
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