Members of the community joined Starbucks partners to celebrate the opening of a unique new store at 281 E. Willow St. The store is designed to support economic development through local hiring, partnerships with local woman and minority owned businesses, and in-store training programs for opportunity youth. It is part of Starbucks’ national initiative to invest in underserved communities across the U.S. Pictured in the front from left are: Daritza Gonzalez from the office of L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn; Suely Saro, field representative for State Sen. Ricardo Lara; Starbucks’ employees Margaret Wehrly, district manager, Jenny Ponce, partner, and Nadine Doremus, store manager; Justin Ramirez, legislative director for the Office of Mayor Robert Garcia; 6th District Councilmember Dee Andrews; Vice Mayor and 9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson; and Rodney Hines, Starbucks director of U.S. Social Impact.


Recent hires Sherry Zapata and Jenny Ponce lead a coffee tasting to kick off the store grand opening celebration. Both Sherry and Jenny were placed at Starbucks with the help of Pacific Gateway. Starbucks is partnering locally with Pacific Gateway to reach out to opportunity youth – young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who face systemic barriers to meaningful jobs and education. The company hopes to reach a collective goal of hiring 100,000 opportunity youths by 2018.