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Starbucks Opening First Store Designed For Deaf People In USA

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Starbucks is opening its first Signing Store designed specifically for Deaf people in the U.S.

The popular coffee franchise will open its first deaf-friendly location with an entire staff proficient in American Sign Language in Washington, D.C., according to a press release Friday. Starbucks will hire 20 to 25 deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing employees from across the country.

Hearing employees will wear “I Sign” buttons and deaf employees will wear an ASL apron. The Signing Store will open in October, located at 6 & H Street by Gallaudet University, a college designed for deaf people.

The store will also include a specifically designed mug and other artwork made by deaf artists, People magazine added. This coffee shop will also include a Deaf Space, a place designed with low reflective surfaces and an “open environment for communication,” according to the press release.

“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, Starbucks’ executive vice president of U.S. Retail, according to the press release. (RELATED: Why The New Starbucks Bathroom Policy Is A Steaming Cup Of Fail — From A Former Employee’s Perspective)

“This store is truly from partners, for partners, and we couldn’t have gotten here without the team of deaf partners and allies from our Accessibility office and the Access Alliance partner network who came together to bring this vision to life. I look forward to the team welcoming the community to this store in October,” Williams added

Starbucks opened its first international Signing Store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2016.

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