Starbucks Opening In Ferguson: Is This Another ‘Race Together’ Campaign?

Coffee giant Starbucks announced it is planning on opening a store in Ferguson, Missouri, the same location where riots broke out following the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by former police officer Darren Wilson.

According to Fortune, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced plans for the new location at an event hosted by NationSwell, but he did not say when it would be opening, and he didn’t give much information on anything else. Schultz did note that the reason for opening a store in Ferguson was a “way to create employment.”

This announcement comes a month after the Inquisitr reported that Starbucks ended its controversial “Race Together” campaign, which had employees hand-write those exact words on customers’ orders in an effort to get people to talk about race relations, following events such as Ferguson. This was met with backlash on social media, and Schultz noted in a memo to employees that he kind of expected that.

“While there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise.”

But what he described as the “catalyst” of the campaign ended as scheduled, and there were still more things that Starbucks had planned on the topic of addressing racial tension and issues. Talking to Quartz last month, spokeswoman Laurel Harper mentioned that “Race Together” would be a challenge for all involved.

“We know this isn’t going to be easy. But we feel that it’s worth the discomfort.”

Even after the backlash, Schultz said he was “proud” of the campaign at a shareholders’ meeting last month, and even addressed those who opposed it, according to the Upstart Business Journal.

“The question is, do we have a right to bring this into the meeting and share it with you and discuss what we think we should do…? [The answer is] yes.”

One spokesman told Fortune at the NationSwell event that the new Ferguson location is “part of [the] plan to build more stores in urban neighborhoods.” Aside from Ferguson, it’s uncertain where the other locations will be, but the spokesperson did say Starbucks was planning to open 300 stores, all in urban areas, according to a separate report from the Upstart Business Journal.

Quartz reports that Starbucks shops have a tendency to be found in locations where the population is 75 percent white. Ferguson’s population is almost 70 percent black, according to a Census report.

How do you feel about Starbucks opening a new store in Ferguson?

[Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images]

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