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Starbucks launches sign language friendly store in Guangzhou, China

GUANGZHOU, China — Starbucks has opened its first signing store in China, which marks its third in the world. The store will serve as a welcoming hub for those passionate about improving accessibility and experiences for all and is located near the recognized Guangdong Disabled Association and Guangdong Deaf People Association.

The China store, according to a press release, employs deaf partners and hard of hearing partners (employees) from across China, fluent in Chinese sign language.

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“As a coffee leader deeply rooted in China, for China, Starbucks is committed to creating equal opportunities for everyone, as well as a unique third place experience that addresses a wide range of community needs. The new Signing Store is an example of how we are building inclusive environments and careers for our partners,” said Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China. “This store truly creates a sense of belonging for everyone and is a strong testament to our continued commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive working environment.”

Starbucks currently employs over 100 partners with disabilities in China. Building on its efforts to nurture talent and create more opportunities for the Deaf workforce, Starbucks has partnered with the Guangdong Deaf People Association to offer professional skills training, including sign language courses and internship opportunities.

Building an Inclusive Retail Experience

Featuring exclusive artwork and unique merchandise designed by Deaf artists, the store provides a platform for the Deaf and hard of hearing community to unleash its talents. The welcoming environment features wooden frames above the bar area that are arranged to express the gesture of love in sign language.