Starbucks brews a few U.S. factory jobs

LOS ANGELES Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:11am EDT

A man carries a Starbucks logo sign after a corporate event at a hotel in Shanghai April 19, 2012. Starbucks Corp wants to make its mainland China expansion a family affair. The world's biggest coffee chain is opening cafes in China at a rate of one every four days in its quest to expand from about 570 shops today to more than 1,500 by 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A man carries a Starbucks logo sign after a corporate event at a hotel in Shanghai April 19, 2012. Starbucks Corp wants to make its mainland China expansion a family affair. The world's biggest coffee chain is opening cafes in China at a rate of one every four days in its quest to expand from about 570 shops today to more than 1,500 by 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) on Tuesday will debut the first products in a line of U.S.-made mugs and other merchandise that will be sold in its roughly 7,000 U.S. cafes to support domestic manufacturing and raise money for its Create Jobs for USA fund.

The move from the world's biggest coffee chain follows Chief Executive Howard Schultz's call to fellow executives to step up hiring and take a bigger role in the country's economic revival.

Domestic manufacturing, once a pillar of the economy, has been hard-hit by globalization. The industry now employs about 12 million people, down from a peak of nearly 20 million around 1980, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The new line of U.S.-made merchandise includes a 16-ounce acrylic tumbler made in Chicago, whole bean coffee that is blended, roasted and packaged in the United States and a 16-ounce ceramic mug made with domestically sourced raw materials at the American Mug & Stein factory in East Liverpool, Ohio.

That formerly struggling factory in what was once known as the pottery capital of the United States expanded its workforce from 14 to 22 after the Starbucks order, the coffee chain said.

While that does little to offset the jobs lost when Starbucks closed roughly 600 U.S. cafes during its ultimately successful turnaround in 2008 and 2009, the move signals growing corporate interest in bringing back U.S. factory jobs.

The company partnered with the Opportunity Finance Network, a group of private lenders, to start Create Jobs for USA late last year. Starbucks will make a donation to the fund for each U.S.-made product sold.

The U.S. employment market as a whole has been stumbling. In May, nonfarm payroll added only 69,000 jobs, the smallest gain in a year.

(Additional reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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Comments (2)
WeWereWallSt wrote:
These people are shameless. (1) source some mugs from Ohio; (2) call your PR man and make sure everybody hears about it. Is that how good deeds really work? Why weren’t they buying these domestically in the first place?

Howie met with Jiang Zemin in Shanghai a few weeks ago. He’s a real patriot, OK. They’re the Wal-Mart and Goldman Sachs of the specialty coffee industry, rolled into one. They obliterate mom and pop cafes and are the nastiest guys with the best PR.

Jun 12, 2012 8:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
tobint wrote:
@Lisa, that’s “pottery capital of the world”, not of the “United States”. The pottery from East Liverpool’s golden era was and still is collected around the world (Bing for Fiestaware collector).I grew up there, so forgive me for being a bit touchy about the label. :)

@WeWereWallSt You apparently don’t get it. Starbucks may very well be publicizing this, but they should. If more companies would do this, and publicize it, it will create a lot more of that positive momentum that our economy is driven off of. We are no longer a gold standard. Our currency and our economy are entirely driven by public sentiment and speculation. That means that when people are confident, the economy can grow at a much faster pace. Think about it this way, when you have a good stable job, you are much more likely to buy a few extra things for yourself than when you aren’t sure where your next paycheck will come from.

They don’t always buy domestically because it doesn’t make good business sense to do that. Think about how many people Starbucks does hire and it’s because they make a profit. The more profitable they are, the more stores they keep open. I don’t begrudge someone making things in China, but it’s always nice when a company who is successful because of that strategy pays it back a little like Starbucks is doing.

Your statements on mom and pop cafes going out of business is just downright wrong. I’m not sure where you got your information, but studies show the exact opposite. If you want to start a coffee shop, the best place to build one is right next door to a Starbucks. They’ve already done the footwork to determine that it’s a good place to sell coffee. Search for the term “Want a Thriving Coffee shop? Open next to a Starbucks”.

Jun 13, 2012 2:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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