Starbucks opens 2nd signing store in Penang

These stores demonstrate Starbucks commitment to building a company where everyone is welcome

by TMR

BERJAYA Starbucks Coffee Co Sdn Bhd (Starbucks Malaysia) marked another milestone with the opening of its second signing store in Burmah Road, Penang on Nov 19, which will be dedicated to offering employment and development opportunities for the deaf and hard of hearing community in the state.

It was officiated by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, US ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir and Berjaya Food Bhd CEO Sydney Quays.

Proudly served by deaf and hard of hearing partners (employees), the store in Burmah Road joins Starbucks signing store in Bangsar Village II, Kuala Lumpur — the first-of- its-kind for Starbucks globally.

“We created the Starbucks signing store three years ago as a place to celebrate the contributions of our deaf and hard of hearing partners.

By valuing the perspectives that people with disabilities bring into the workplace, we were able to provide a uniquely uplifting experience that made people feel represented and gave them a sense of belonging.

“Given Penang’s rich culture and historical relationship with the deaf community, we hope the opening of the Starbucks signing store will be a welcome addition to enrich the lives of many more deaf and hard of hearing persons around the

island,” Quays said in a statement.

While these signing stores were built to be diverse and inclusive working environments, they also serve as centres for driving awareness around deaf culture and community needs — making them a unique third place experience with far-reaching effects that will positively impact the community.

“I’m honoured that Starbucks Malaysia has chosen Penang to open its second signing store in Malaysia. I believe that through this innovative approach, members of the deaf and hard of hearing community will feel empowered to develop their careers in a vibrant and supportive environment.” said Chow.

Starbucks Malaysia partnered with Penang Deaf Association (PDA) to facilitate the professional training and development of the store partners, including Malaysian Sign Language classes and internship opportunities. In conjunction with the opening launch, Starbucks Malaysia is channelling RM1 from every vanilla fig frappuccino sold on the day to initiate programmes alongside PDA that will benefit the community.

Just like other Starbucks partners, the signing store partners are also given a chance at career progression. They can undergo the Coffee Master Programme to deepen their coffee knowledge and barista craft.

After completing the certification, the deaf and hard of hearing baristas are distinguishable by their black aprons that feature special embroidery with ‘Starbucks’ in Malaysian Sign Language.