As we grew from just a few hundred stores to nearly 2,000, we struggled to find the right way to invest in historically underserved communities. Then in 1998 we partnered with Magic Johnson Enterprises to found Urban Coffee Opportunities, a successful 12-year collaboration which built more than 100 stores in urban neighborhoods across the United States.
“Through our partnership with Starbucks, we were able to serve as an economic catalyst in urban cities through the creation of new jobs, use of local suppliers, support for community-based organizations and by attracting other retailers to the area,” said basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises.
The initiative helped us establish a presence in places like Harlem, New York and the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles, which became the first of our Community Stores in 2011. The venture also helped fund The Starbucks Foundation, which creates pathways to opportunity for young people all over the world.