New Starbucks store breaks language barriers


Throughout the past year, Starbucks, the popular coffee chain, has encountered many controversies. As a result, the company has actively made an effort to create a more inclusive atmosphere for customers. On October 23, Starbucks opened a new store that is staffed with over 25 employees who can communicate in American Sign Language. Located in Washington, D.C., the new “Signing Store” was converted from a Starbucks near Gallaudet University in Washington.

Baristas at the “Signing Store” are either partially or fully deaf, which will be easily recognizable for the customers. Employees will wear an apron with the signed Starbucks logo embroidered on it along with a pin that reads, “I Sign.” Customers will have the option of signing their order and then receiving an order number. The order number will then appear on a screen when the order is ready. The store is also equipped with interactive notepads and digital displays to make the store even more accessible for customers.

Sign language is a growing form of communication, as society is increasingly becoming more conscious of the importance of the language. Over the summer, Sanderson freshman Maddie Midha took a sign language course at Wake Tech Community College. She was able to not only learn American Sign Language, but also understand the culture of the deaf community. When asked why she decided to learn sign language, Midha says, “I thought it was a very unique and rich language.” She continued, “I believe anyone can learn if they just take the time to do so.”

The new Starbucks Signing Store is just the beginning of raising awareness of people in with disabilities in the workplace.