Starbucks opens first new store in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria
Reaffirms commitment to island’s economic, community recovery
Starbucks Puerto Rico, a business unit of Starbucks Coffee Co., Seattle, is celebrating the opening of its 25th location on the island, a new café at the Metropolitan University (UMET) campus in Cupey, which is part of the Ana G. Méndez University System (SUAGM).
It is the first Starbucks store to open since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September, destroying homes, damaging the Island’s critical infrastructure, and taking innocent lives, the company says.
As the long road to rebuilding continues, leaders from both Starbucks and the company’s local business partner, Baristas del Caribe, reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together to support the island’s economic recovery.
The two companies and their foundations also have collectively contributed more than $1.3 million toward emergency relief and long-term rebuilding efforts across the region. That includes the creation of the Tacita Verde Fund to provide emergency financial grants to local Starbucks partners (employees) and their families in need, as well as a Starbucks Foundation grant to match U.S. customer donations via the Starbucks mobile app and funding to World Coffee Research to begin the long-term work of supporting coffee farmers impacted by the hurricane, it says.
“Our new store in San Juan, our 25th on the Island, is in honor of our Puerto Rican partners and customers, who continue to demonstrate incredible strength and resilience day after day since Hurricane Maria,” said Michael Conway, executive vice president for Starbucks Licensed Stores business across the Americas, in a statement. “As we open our doors at UMET, and slowly begin to reopen all other stores across the island, we remain fully committed to our growth plans in the market as we work to create local jobs, serve our customers and support the region’s coffee producers. I am very proud of the heroic ways in which our partners came together to support one another and their community, as well as the leadership, vision and compassion of our trusted business partner, Baristas del Caribe, led by the Fonalledas family in Puerto Rico. This will undoubtedly be a long road to recovery, and Starbucks is here for the long haul.”
Governor Ricardo Rosselló added: “With this new opening, we reaffirm that the island is firmly on its way to recovery. We thank Starbucks Puerto Rico for its commitment to create jobs and contribute to our economy at a time when the island needs it most. Likewise, we urge you to continue supporting your employees, as you are doing with the newly created Tacita Verde Fund.”
Jaime L. Fonalledas, president of Baristas del Caribe, said: “Starbucks opening at the university is an example of our commitment to Puerto Rico. We remain focused on growing the brand, despite the setbacks caused by the hurricane. Our new store opening was made possible thanks to the strategic alliance established with the SUAGM system, a stable and progressive corporation, equally committed with the economic recovery of the Island.”
Starbucks intends for the new location at UMET, which now is open to the public, to become a meeting place on campus, while providing job opportunities to local students and contributing to the local economy. Another Starbucks store will open in Santa Isabel in early 2018, the company says.
“Today we make history by opening the first Starbucks in a higher education institution in Puerto Rico,” said José F. Méndez, president of SUAGM. “The economic development of the country is everyone’s responsibility, and SUAGM will be present in any initiative that improves the quality of life of our people.”
In the wake of the devastating impacts of Hurricane Maria in September, Starbucks Puerto Rican partners, like the rest of the citizens on the island, faced a long and difficult road to recovery, it details. Many still are assessing damages to their homes and their communities, a task made much tougher because of the lack of power, limited connectivity and long lines for necessities like water, ice, gas and food.
In response, Baristas del Caribe created the Tacita Verde Fund, its first-ever employee assistance fund dedicated to help Starbucks Puerto Rican partners and their families in need. Through an initial contribution of $50,000 from Starbucks Coffee Co., the Tacita Verde Fund is helping provide financial grants to partners with critical needs ranging from urgent home repairs to food or medical needs. The Fonalledas Foundation also is supporting the partners with donations.
In addition to the Starbucks Puerto Rico Tacita Verde Fund, Starbucks Coffee Co., Baristas Del Caribe and its parent company, Empressas Fonalledas Inc., have made the following contributions to support urgent and long-term rebuilding efforts in communities across Puerto Rico:
- $125,000 from Starbucks Coffee Co. to Unidos por Puerto Rico
- $75,000 from The Starbucks Foundation to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy
- $20,000 from The Starbucks Foundation to match donations by customers across the United States through the Starbucks mobile app. The funds also will support the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.
- $27,000 from The Starbucks Foundation to World Coffee Research to support rebuilding of the island’s coffee industry
- Product/in-kind donations from the business, including bottled water and emergency supplies
- $1 million from Empresas Fonalledas Inc. to various nonprofit organizations working on relief and recovery efforts across the island, as well as assistance to employees. Among the nonprofit organizations are the Red Cross, Para la Naturaleza, Habitat for Humanity, World Central Kitchen, Ricky Martin Foundation, Boys & Girls Club, Centros Sor Isolina Ferré, Centro para Puerto Rico and Unidos por Puerto Rico.