Starbucks TT opened its sixth store earlier this week. The company said baristas based at the newest location in Ellerslie Plaza, Maraval “will connect” with the nearby Rainbow Rescue, a home focused on rehabilitating and educating teenage boys to prepare them for independent living and employment.
Community partnerships are very important to Starbucks globally, with each store identifying and then connecting with a charity in its area. Starbucks TT vice-president Deborah Benjamin commented on this during the Maraval store’s pre-opening event on Monday evening. “As we continue to train and recruit baristas, each store is gradually building relationships with each community partner.”
Benjamin added, “This Christmas, we have extended our community initiative by inviting customers to also drop a gift for a child or teenager at a store nearby. In a way, we are trying to develop meaningful relationships with our baristas, our customers and the charities in each neighbourhood.” Since opening its first Trinidad store at South Park mall in August 2016, Starbucks has formed links with the Hope Center in San Fernando, Ferndean’s Children’s Home in Point Fortin, Wesleyan Children’s Home in Couva, Jayalakshmi Children’s Home in Chaguanas and Marian House in Port of Spain. The company said the Gift for Life Foundation has played a key role in connecting it to charities across TT.
Speaking on behalf of the foundation at the event, Shaks Ragoonanan said, “Gift For Life members and baristas from Starbucks encouraged children’s participation in different sporting events which have impacted positively on their self-esteem and confidence levels. Baristas displayed teamwork to create an environment where children are appreciated for their talents.” Starbucks TT, which now employs more than 150 baristas, said it is focused on its commitment to hiring and training more baristas in 2018.