Since first opening in 1971, Starbucks has had two goals: to roast and serve the finest coffees in the world and to make a positive and lasting impact. Named after a character in Moby Dick, the logo is inspired by the sea – featuring a twin-tailed siren from Greek mythology, the logo is instantly recognized and a staple in Salem, Oregon.
One of the newest members of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, Starbucks has been a pillar of service in the community for years. And with new stores opening on Commercial Street and downtown on Church Street, the coffeehouse has provided more places for colleagues, friends and families to gather for conversation over a cup of coffee.
Starbucks mission, ‘to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time’, is personal for Michael Kane and Gabriella Griffiths, district managers overseeing stores in the Salem area.
Michael Kane has worked at Starbucks for nine years, starting his career in financial sales at a mortgage company, and soon realizing he wanted to be around people. In his former role, he went to Starbucks nearly every morning and had seen the store rally around a barista who was gravely ill. It stood out to him that an entry-level employee mattered that much to the company and the community the store was part of.
“Starbucks doesn’t feel like a large corporate entity based on how it treats its people,” Kane said.
Gabriella Griffiths, a district manager, and Michael Kane’s counterpart, has worked at Starbucks for over 13 years. She started as an assistant manager, and then after one month, was promoted to a manager role, highlighting the company’s investment in its partners (employees).
“I was born and raised in Mexico, and I came to this country when I was 20, without speaking a word of English,” said Griffiths of her start at the coffeehouse. “When I came to Starbucks, I was given so many opportunities. I was part of the team that opened the first store in Latin America in Mexico.”
Starbucks passion is for the people on both sides of the counter. The company’s coffee buyers personally travel to coffee farms in Latin America, Africa and Asia to select the highest-quality, ethically-sourced beans.
“I went to Costa Rica and visited coffee farms, met with farmers and learned how the finest coffee in the world is grown and harvested,” Kane said. “It’s important to know how our coffee is sourced. The journey, from bean to cup, up to the last 10 feet where it’s served to our customers in the store, truly matters.”
Starbucks is committed to 100% ethically sourced coffee. For nearly two decades they have partnered with Conservation International to develop sustainable buying guidelines that demands the highest quality levels and ensures economic and price transparency, environmental leadership and social responsibility practices that benefit people and the planet. The coffee you buy from Starbucks each morning is only the very best.
Investment in Employees
While coffee is at the heart of the company, Starbucks takes investing in its partners seriously. For example, the Starbucks College Achievement Plan is an incredible benefit that allows Starbucks partners working 20 or more hours each week, to earn a bachelor’s degree, cost-free, through Arizona State University (ASU), in any one of 50 different degree programs. A first-of its kind collaboration, students are immersed in a fully online program. Kane noted there are 20 Starbucks partners in Salem enrolled in the program. Three graduates were from the West Salem Starbucks in 2017, and the program has hosted over 1,000 graduations nationally since its inception.
“Many students cannot afford school because they must help their families. Choosing between one or the other doesn’t have to happen at Starbucks,” said Griffiths.
Starbucks offers an industry-leading benefits package, including comprehensive health care benefits, stock ownership disability and life insurance benefits, a 401K savings plan benefit, and the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Recently the company added a new Partner and Family Sick Time benefit along with an extended parental leave policy.
“I don’t know of any other company that prioritizes the growth and success of its employees,” said Griffiths.
Even as a public company with shareholders, Starbucks has always prioritized balancing profitability and social conscience. The coffee companyis committed to creating and investing in opportunities for people in their neighborhoods.
For example, Starbucks in Salem has started a new partnership with the Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) in Salem. CTEC and its career technical education classes address the needs of growing industries and help close the skills gap by graduating students with expertise in welding, construction and manufacturing – to name a few.
The Starbucks partnership asked students to provide content for an internal marketing project. The students must create a short film, that educates viewers and service providers on two of Starbucks social impact programs. The students will then present their videos to a Shark-Tank style panel, and the winning video will actually be used by Starbucks.
This is an incredible opportunity for local students to not only gain connections at Starbucks, but to work on real-life skills such as public speaking, creativity and teamwork – all thanks to Starbucks.
Not only does Starbucks provide incredible opportunities for its partners, but the company also works to make host communities, like Salem, stronger. The Volunteer Match Partnership matches your location and area of interest to volunteer opportunities. Since 1998, Starbucks and Volunteer Match have powered over 13 million volunteer connections.
“I want chamber members to know how much we care about our community. I have a store manager that is supporting the Center of Hope and Safety and all managers will be doing a day of service there,” said Griffiths. “Not many people know that our store managers are passionate about giving back to the neighborhoods and customers they serve every day.”
Click here to read more about the community investments Starbucks makes each year.
Goals for Chamber Membership
Starbucks already has made an irreplaceable impact on the Salem-Keizer community. The coffee company believes in the partnering up with organizations to revitalize and enhance the neighborhoods it serves.
Joining the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, is one element of enhancing their community impact because the Chamber is the voice for business in Salem.
When asked about goals for Chamber membership, Kane said, “I want to find more ways for us to be involved in Salem. I am open to what may come and am excited for the opportunity to network and partner with local business members.”
Kane’s counterpart, Gaby Griffiths, shared similar sentiments.
“I am so excited to begin a new relationship with the Chamber,” said Griffiths. “There is so much we can do together!”
Learn more about Starbucks. Welcome to the Chamber!