Starbucks has just announced that they will be opening their first American Signing Store that specifically accommodates and welcomes deaf workers and customers.
Not only that, the store, which is set to open in Washington D.C. in October, will be entirely run by employees who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), whether they be deaf, hard-of-hearing, or an ally.
According to a press release from the store, the café will be designed with deaf-friendly aspects, such as an open environment for communication and low glare reflective surfaces. Visual communication options will be available for ordering and receiving beverages at the hand-off counter. Additionally, artwork and merchandise, including a custom mug, designed by deaf artists
“The National Association of the Deaf applauds Starbucks for opening a Signing Store that employs feaf and hard-of-hearing people,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf. “Starbucks has taken an innovative approach to incorporating deaf culture that will increase employment opportunities as well as accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing people, while at the same time educating and enlightening society.”
Though this is the first deaf-friendly Starbucks store in America, the company’s first ever Signing Store in the world opened up in Malaysia back in 2016.
“This is a historic moment in Starbucks ongoing journey to connect with the Deaf and hard of hearing community, hire and engage Deaf and hard of hearing partners, and continue to find ways to be more inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all,” said Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president of U.S. Retail.
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