Starbucks Coffee Company today joined civic and elected leaders in Augusta, Georgia, to break ground on its first company-owned manufacturing facility in the world to produce soluble products. The $172 million plant is expected to create 140 high-quality American manufacturing jobs, in addition to hundreds of indirect jobs related to construction, shipping, and other supply chain functions.
Once complete in early 2014, the facility will produce products currently manufactured abroad, including Starbucks VIA Ready Brew as well as the coffee base for Frappuccino blended beverages and many of Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages.
The soluble plant will be Starbucks’ fifth manufacturing facility in the U.S., adding to the company’s existing network of four roasting plants that employ more than 830 partners (employees) in Kent, Washington; York, Pennsylvania; Sandy Run, South Carolina; and Carson Valley, Nevada. Designed to be LEED certified, the 180,000 sq. ft. soluble plant will be capable of producing up to 4,000 metric tons per year.
As part of its ongoing commitment to helping communities thrive wherever it does business, the company also announced that it would invest $200,000 in community programs to support Augusta’s ongoing efforts. Over the next several months, Starbucks will work with elected leaders and civic organizations, including the Augusta Regional Collaboration Project, a local non-profit development group, as well as others, to identify, develop, and support local programs focused on building long-term infrastructure that helps to galvanize a deeper sense of community engagement in Augusta.
“During such challenging economic times, I am thrilled that we are creating jobs and building something special right here in Georgia,” says Peter Gibbons, executive vice president, Starbucks global supply chain operations. “Starbucks has long believed that there is a direct link between our success and the vitality of the communities in which we do business. With access to a skilled labor force, advanced technology, and critical transportation and logistics infrastructure, Augusta is a great example of how building high-tech manufacturing facilities in America makes good business sense while supporting the communities where our customers and partners live and work.”
Gibbons was joined at Friday’s ground-breaking by state, local, and community leaders essential to the effort including Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Augusta Economic Development Authority Board Chairman Henry Ingram.
“Georgia is proud to welcome Starbucks to the growing community of global brands that make a home in our state,” says Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. “We understand that a company like Starbucks has its pick of places to do business, so we are indeed glad the strength of Georgia’s workforce and business environment attracted this manufacturing operation. I am confident today’s ground-breaking marks the first of many great milestones as Starbucks grows in Georgia.”
Approximately 75 percent of the plant’s workforce will be comprised of skilled processing workers, including maintenance and engineering technicians as well as roasting operators, soluble process operators, and packaging operators. The remaining 25 percent will be comprised of management and administrative staff. Plant partners will be offered a competitive compensation and benefits package.
“The direct and indirect jobs Starbucks is bringing will have a near-immediate impact on Augusta,” says Mayor Copenhaver. “But Starbucks is bringing more than just jobs. The company is keenly aware of the need for companies and their employees to work towards building stronger communities at all levels. We look forward to working with Starbucks and learning from their long history of community engagement on how to develop sustainable solutions that foster a deep sense of civic duty and service.”