Starbucks Coffee Company chairman, president, and CEO Howard Schultz inaugurated the first Starbucks community store outside of the United States in the Langsuan neighborhood of Bangkok, Thailand.
Schultz was in Bangkok celebrating 15 years in the market with Starbucks partners and to officially open Starbucks’ first community store in Asia, where 10 percent of sales from Starbucks hand-crafted beverages will be directed to the farming communities of Northern Thailand.
As the company continues to accelerate growth in Southeast Asia, Thailand will play a critical role in that development and expansion.
Starbucks Thailand announced the doubling of its store count over the next five years.
“As I join the team today to celebrate 15 years in market, there is an unparalleled passion our partners demonstrate for delivering the ‘Starbucks Experience’ to our customers in Thailand,” Schultz says. “I have never been more confident in our ability to grow this market, doubling store count over the next five years.
“As we continue to grow, it is critical that we stay true to our more than 40 years of heritage, continuing to build our business with a focus on taking care of our people, creating moments of connection with our customers, and giving back to the communities where we do business,” he adds. “The community store in Langsuan signifies our ongoing commitment to give back to communities and, more specifically, to support and sustain local coffee and farming communities in Northern Thailand.”
This is Starbucks fourth community store globally. Starbucks operates three community stores in Los Angeles, New York, and Texas. Each store operates with a commitment to serving the local community, with the recognition that when communities thrive, everyone benefits.
As part of this collaboration, 10 percent of sales of hand-crafted beverages purchased at the Langsuan community store will be directed to The Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP).
The funds will contribute to the building of a learning center in Mae KheeMukNoi and Kong Kai villages, and thereafter will be dedicated to supporting sustainable education, health, and irrigation projects.
Starbucks Thailand has been supporting the farming communities in Thailand for more than 10 years with 5 percent of the Thai sales of Starbucks Muan Jai blend sourced from the region being invested back in the local coffee-farming communities.
“Daily life for many farming communities in Northern Thailand is challenging, with limited access to health care or education and almost no opportunities to break out of poverty,” says Mike Mann, director of ITDP.
“Starbucks’ commitment to these communities has already made an enormous difference, with several thousands of people benefiting through improved water access, local medical clinics, and schools,” he continues. “Many communities now are starting to thrive, but there is still a lot of work to do and I am very excited that the new community store at Langsuan will be part of that progress, giving hope and a better future to thousands of hill tribe communities, who in return will continue to grow high-quality coffee.”
Many Langsuan neighborhood customers may have never visited the farming communities of Northern Thailand; the Starbucks community store will work to bridge these two communities, allowing the people in the Langsuan neighborhood to contribute to making the lives of the people in a distant, challenged coffee-growing community stronger.
Dating back 80 years, the Starbucks Langsuan community store location is itself a testament to tradition and culture. Housed in a traditional Thai-style home, the interior space reflects local sentiment and pays homage to local culture, taking inspiration from the northern hill tribe farming communities.
Starbucks community store is in process of gaining LEED-certified approval, adhering to stringent global standards for environmental stewardship. This includes using reclaimed wood and locally sourced materials.
“Our new community store is unique to Thailand, and our hope is that this powerful relationship—which allows coffee-farming communities to receive contributions from Starbucks through The Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP)—will be an inspiration to our partners and customers,” says Murray Darling, managing director, Starbucks Coffee, Thailand.
“We have been sourcing coffee from Thailand since 2002 and created our own Muan Jai blend with coffee grown in this region, and this community store underscores the strong relationship and the significant commitment we have with the coffee-farming communities in Northern Thailand,” he adds. “Working together, we hope to make long-term, positive change.”