At its shareholders' meeting in Seattle, Starbucks announced it will invest $180 million in expanding manufacturing capacity in the Southeas by building a fifth U.S. plant in Augusta, Ga. and expanding an existing facility in Sandy Run, S.C.
"Starbucks has long believed that there is a strong relationship between our success and the strength and vitality of the communities in which we do business," said Howard Schultz, CEO. "Augusta and Sandy Run are important communities for our company. Both have an abundance of skilled workers, a great quality of life, convenient access to transportation that is critical to our business and strong support from local and state leaders. We're proud to be part of these communities and to be creating American manufacturing jobs during such challenging economic times."
The new Augusta plant will be Starbucks first company-owned and -operated facility in the world to produce soluble products, such as Starbucks VIA Ready Brew and the ingredients for Frappuccino and Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages. In addition to building the new soluble plant, Starbucks will add packaging capacity at its roasting plant in South Carolina.
The 110,000 to 160,000 sq. ft. LEED certified building will be capable of producing up to 4,000 metric tons per year and add 140 new jobs, the company said.
The Sandy Run roasting plant, which opened in 2009, will invest $7 million in a packaging line by the end of this year. This expansion will create an estimated six new jobs, adding to the more than 830 partners (employees) that Starbucks already employs at its four roasting plants in the U.S. In addition to Sandy Run, Starbucks also has roasting plants in Kent, Wash., York, Pa., and Carson Valley, Nev.
Starbucks has also been adding new stores (300) in fiscal 2012 which created 5,000 direct and indirect new jobs.
In an effort to create economic growth in the U.S, Starbucks teamed up with the Opportunity Finance Network teamed up to launch "Create Jobs for USA," a national campaign designed to help jumpstart the economy with a focus on job creation in many of America's most underserved communities. Through the Create Jobs for USA Fund, 100% of donations from Starbucks customers goes quickly to community development financial institutions to provide necessary financing to community businesses committed to creating and sustaining jobs.
In the first three months of the Create Jobs for USA program, Starbucks and the Starbucks Foundation have raised more than $7 million in donations, which in turn has translated into $50 million in financing for community businesses.
The program help support nearly 280 loans across 31 states, with the goal of extending to all 50 states by the end of this year. And help create and retain an estimated 2,300 American jobs.
"Create Jobs for USA was specifically designed to give Americans a simple, specific way to take action and be part of a solution to our national jobs emergency," said Schultz. "Our initial progress tells us that we can continue to grow this public-private initiative and that the emotional appeal of Americans helping Americans resonates, especially when our fellow citizens know that their participation contributes to their own communities in sustainable ways. In the coming weeks we plan to introduce new corporate partners that will support the effort with equity donations, awareness campaigns, and consumer outreach."
From a global perspective, at the shareholder's meeting, the company discussed the opportunity for international growth in new and emerging countries such as India and Brazil. It committed to accelerated growth across China and Asia Pacific markets. John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, confirmed that by 2014 China will become Starbucks second largest market outside the U.S. and will exceed 1,500 stores by 2015. Next year, Japan will open its 1,000th store and Korea will more than double in size to over 700 stores by 2016. Focus will also be given to accelerating growth across Indonesia and Thailand as part of its emerging market growth strategy.