HW Pick: Starbucks Is Opening Cafés In Low-Income Areas

starbucks puts money where its mouth isA new study is showing what anyone who has lived in a gentrifying neighborhood already knows: If there’s money, there’s a Starbucks.
Eater recently used census data to compare neighborhood income averages and demographics to a map of Starbucks locations — and found pretty much exactly what you’d expect: If there’s a Starbucks in the neighborhood, the people who live there are more likely to be white and middle class.

The company has been responding to its image of upper-middle-class privilege with a concerted push to open locations in more low-income neighborhoods, with a goal of supporting economic and social change. Specifically on the agenda are towns and neighborhoods that may be familiar — places like Ferguson, MO. Also on the short list is Milwaukee, where a police officer shot an unarmed Black man outside a Starbucks in 2014.

Starbucks looks at all the available data on the socio-economic health of America’s cities to understand which communities have the biggest opportunity gaps

The program, which will open 15 new locations in five cities, was announced in July of this year. In a statement, Starbucks addressed the ways it was evaluating location placement. “To determine which communities are a good fit for this store concept,” the statement read, “Starbucks looks at all the available data on the socio-economic health of America’s cities to understand which communities have the biggest opportunity gaps.”

The company is also spearheading a push by a coalition of companies to hire 100,000 at-risk youth by 2018 as a way to promote economic growth and community security

Starbucks has long tried to portray itself as a conscientious business, with progressive official stances on everything from LGBTQ inclusiveness to a living wage to racial tension. (Some of these have been better received than others.) The company is also spearheading a push by a coalition of companies to hire 100,000 at-risk youth by 2018 as a way to promote economic growth and community security wrote Refinery29.

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