New Starbucks in Five Points West makes history in acknowledging local history

[Photo Credit: City of Birmingham Mayor's Office via Facebook]

A new Starbucks in Five Points West neighborhood of Birmingham, Ala. is making history.

The location, situated in the Birmingham Crossplex Village, is giving a nod to the history of its new neighborhood by providing maps of the Civil Rights Trail — the first Starbucks in the country to do so.

Starbucks chose to build in a store in once-flourishing working-class community that’s experienced decades of decline as part of their commitment to revitalizing low-to-medium income communities by creating meaningful jobs, providing in-store job-skills training programs for youth, and investing in local minority-owned contractors and suppliers.

An emphasis on community engagement

From the very beginning, the Five Points West location invested in the historic African-American neighborhood by hiring local minority-owned contractors and suppliers when building the store.

According to Rodney Hines, Starbucks director of Community Investments for U.S. Retail Operations, the company strives to identify communities that have large opportunity gaps and a need for business engagement and investment, as well as the foundations for commercial success.

“We considered the impact Starbucks can have in this community, and whether it is a viable site in terms of driving business for us and being profitable,” Hines said. “It’s the convergence of those two considerations – community impact and impact on business – that led to this site being right for us. It’s a residential community with a commercial corridor and a significant civic building – the Birmingham CrossPlex sports facility – that’s there for the county and the city.”

Commitment to local youth

The new Starbucks will also serve as an onsite “soft skills” training center as well.

Part of the company’s strategy to make good on its commitment to hire 100,000 “opportunity youth” – age 16-24 with limited education and job prospects — the Five Points West location will provide them career and education opportunities.

It has partnered with the Birmingham-based non-profit, the Dannon Project. — the group endeavors to help persons in transition, especially those with addictions on the road to recovery — to launch the life skills training program that will provide job skills training programs for young adults who are not in school or employed, according to Starbucks. The program will focus on “soft skills” like how to dress for work and understand employers’ expectations.

The new Starbucks in Five Points West is truly a collaborative project. Starbucks worked with a minority owned general contractor to build the store; partnered with The Dannon Project to launch a life skills training program for local youth; and will be the first Starbucks in the country to provide maps of the Civil Rights Trail,” the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office posted on Facebook Wednesday..

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is personally signing praises for the store.

“Kudos to Starbucks. This is the way you serve a community,” Woodfin posted on Faceebook.

“We are honored to have Starbucks open in District 8 and engage the citizens in the entire City of Birmingham and surrounding areas. Our young people, especially, get to take advantage of the tools of outstanding workforce development and work ethic,” added Councilor Steven Hoyt.