Starbucks announced Thursday that its first U.S. Signing Store is coming to Washington D.C. this October. The new location will provide employment opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people as a part of Starbucks’ ongoing commitment to inclusion, accessibility, and diversity.
Starbucks will hire 20 to 25 deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing partners who are fluent in American Sign Language to ensure a stronger connection with the deaf and hard of hearing community. The first Starbucks Signing Store opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2016, which inspired the initiative to create a similar experience for customers in the U.S. A group of Starbucks partners even traveled to the historic location to better understand design modifications and learn how to create the best possible store environment for deaf and hard of hearing customers.
“The store will feature exclusive artwork and a custom mug designed by a deaf artist, and a variety of enhancements to support the deaf and hard of hearing partner and customer experience,” says the company’s recent statement. “Deaf baristas will have ASL aprons embroidered by a deaf supplier, and hearing partners who sign will have an ‘I Sign’ pin.”
Starbucks is taking measures to ensure that the store’s unique format will promote deaf culture and accessibility as well as provide career opportunities for members of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
xx, The FabFitFun Team