Starbucks has announced that it's going to be opening its very first “Signing Store” in the US for customers that are deaf or have hearing impairments .
The branch of the coffee chain is going to be launched in October this year in Washington DC, close to Gallaudet University, which educates students who are either deaf or hard of hearing.
Approximately 20 to 25 of the partners who will be hired to work at the Signing Store will have partial or complete hearing loss.
All of the employees will be required to know how to converse using American Sign Language.
“This is a historic moment in Starbucks’ ongoing journey to connect with the deaf and hard of hearing community, hire and engage deaf and hard of hearing partners, and continue to find ways to be more inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all,” said Rossann Williams, executive vice president of US Retail at Starbucks.
The company has been praised for taking a step towards greater inclusivity of the deaf community.
A lot of thought has gone into the design of the Washington DC-based Signing Store, from the aprons that the partners will wear to the decor of the coffee shop.
The baristas who are deaf will wear aprons with an American Sign Language-inspired design, while the partners who aren’t deaf will wear pins that indicate that they know sign language.
Furthermore, artwork created by a deaf artist will appear both within the store and on the coffee mugs.
Customers who come to the store who don’t know how to use sign language will be able to order at the counter using different forms of communication.