[Sharingbuttons]Starbucks opened its first store in Jamaica on Tuesday (Nov 21) its 76th market globally, marking a historic milestone for the global coffee company’s Caribbean operations and its storied history of sourcing the highest quality coffee from the region going back more than four decades.
The new café, located at Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay, offers customers an inviting destination to relax, unwind and connect in one of the area’s most iconic neighborhoods. Featuring custom artwork by local artist Fiona Godfrey, the store’s unique design pays tribute to Jamaica’s history and rich coffee heritage. Customers can enjoy a wide range of Starbucks beverages and food, including its signature handcrafted hot and cold espresso beverages made with 100 percent arabica coffee. To mark this historic opening, the company is also featuring Starbucks Reserve® Jamaica Blue Mountain whole bean coffee, a long-time favorite with Starbucks customers in the U.S. and Canada.
“As a company that has worked for many decades with Jamaica’s coffee growing communities, we are honored to have the opportunity to work our local business partner Caribbean Coffee Baristas to open our first store in the beautiful island nation of Jamaica,” said Ricardo Rico, Starbucks general manager and vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, who attended the opening celebrations in Montego Bay. “For Starbucks, this is an opportunity to build on more than forty years of the best in-store experience to customers around the globe that is rooted in high-quality coffee and our engaged, knowledgeable baristas. Our new Starbucks Jamaica partners (employees) are ready to welcome customers, as we mark the beginning of this exciting chapter in the Caribbean market.”
Starbucks® stores in Jamaica are operated by Caribbean Coffee Baristas Ltd., a joint venture between Ian Dear, Chief Executive Officer of leading restaurant management and franchise operator Margaritaville Caribbean Group and Adam Stewart, who is also Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sandals Resorts International. Together, they plan to open up to 15 locations in Jamaica over the next five years, with a shared commitment towards creating opportunities for Starbucks employees, delivering a unique and unmatched customer experience, and supporting the region’s coffee producers. Following Montego Bay, the company expects to open in Kingston in 2018.
“As a leading Caribbean hospitality group, our achievements have always been guided by listening, responding and delivering on our customers’ expectations,” said Dear. “Bringing Starbucks, a globally recognized and respected brand, to our Jamaican shores, is a natural progression for us. We pledge to continue providing the high standards that we and Starbucks are known for. This is another occasion for us to create fantastic opportunities, for everyone involved, and to create another global platform for our locally-grown Blue Mountain Coffee. We know that this venture will be highly successful, and we look forward to an exciting future with Starbucks.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Starbucks to Jamaica and bring the Starbucks Experience to customers on the island,” said Stewart. “Through our shared values, including our dedication to delivering the best customer experience, commitment to be an employer of choice, and operating responsibly in the communities we serve, we aim to create a truly unique coffeehouse experience here in Jamaica.”
“In addition, I believe that Starbucks, with its long-standing love of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, represents one of the greatest opportunities for the incremental growth in the export of our locally-grown coffee,” said Stewart.
Honoring Jamaica’s Rich Heritage through Coffee and Design
In celebration of Starbucks launch in the market, customers can now enjoy Starbucks Reserve® Jamaica Blue Mountain whole bean coffee – a rare and exceptional coffee grown by Amber Estate farms in the Blue Mountain region, and roasted exclusively at the state-of-the-art Starbucks Reserve™ Roastery in the company’s hometown of Seattle. The company also plans to source Jamaican coffee for single origin coffees and blends for its stores in other markets across Latin America, and connect agronomists and technical experts from the Starbucks Global Agronomy Center to coffee producers in Jamaica.
“This coffee is an opportunity for us to recognize and thank Jamaica’s coffee growing community for their continued partnership on this special single origin coffee, while introducing our first customers in Jamaica to a very special part of Starbucks own coffee journey – an amazing coffee that is roasted in our one and only Starbucks Reserve Roastery back home in Seattle,” said Rico.
In addition, through a unique store design, the new Starbucks café showcases the iconic brand while also celebrating the Jamaican people and their rich culture and heritage. The 1,200-sq.-ft. space sits within the protected Montego Bay Marine Park at Doctor’s Cave Beach, one of the most treasured and renowned beaches in Jamaica. The store features distinctly local design elements such as pickled-wood vaulted ceilings and louvered windows, preserved from their original state and enriched to create an authentic beachside café experience.
Custom artwork from locally based artist Fiona Godfrey is featured throughout the space. Godfrey, an Irish artist who has called Jamaica home for more than 25 years, created a custom mural for the new Starbucks® store featuring a lion, which she notes is the “perfect icon to create a sense of place in Starbucks Montego Bay” as well as the Doctor Bird, a national symbol for Jamaica. The juxtaposition of the small bird and the majestic lion, echo a popular expression in the country – “We likkle but we tallowah” – to show that while Jamaica is a small nation it has had a huge global impact across the arts, culture, sports, coffee and more. Godfrey also incorporated Jamaica’s famous misty blue mountains in the background of her mural – a bow to world-renowned Jamaican coffee. A familiar local greeting of “hail up,” hand-painted by local company Carlton & Sons Signs and Graphix and local artist Sheridan Burgess, greets customers as they enter the store, and a well-wishing “walk good” meets customers at the end of the coffee bar.
The color palette of Godfrey’s mural draws from the colors of Jamaica – black, green, yellow and red – with touches of gold and ochre for the lion’s face. “Jamaicans love gold, and we win a lot of it,” said Godfrey. Similar gold touches can be found throughout the new store. The coffee bar is covered in walnut panels that feature subtle gold-painted reveals, the backwall granite is embedded with delicate gold flecks, and an excerpt from Jamaican poet Reginald M. Murray’s “The Song of the Blue Mountain Stream” is hand-painted in gold, serving as a backdrop as Starbucks baristas craft beverages at the Espresso Bar.
“Fiona did such a beautiful job on the mural for this store, and from the first conversation we had with her, we knew she would be the one to give this store its soul,” said Denise Rodriguez, design manager for the Starbucks store in Jamaica. “The lion is meant to represent the heart and spirit of the Jamaican people. He’s not a fierce or intimidating lion, he’s majestic and mighty, but gentle and caring – connecting eyes with the hummingbird, or Doctor Bird as it’s locally called, and embracing her, acknowledging her, and respecting her. The hummingbird is not threatened by the powerful lion, as they are proudly harmonious, much like Jamaica itself.”
Creating Opportunities for Jamaican Youth
Starbucks has a long history going back more than forty years of investing in the communities it serves worldwide by creating opportunities for young people, particularly those in underserved communities. The company plans to similarly partner with Caribbean Coffee Baristas Ltd. in Jamaica to support initiatives aimed at connecting young men and women in the community with the resources and support they need to succeed. Starbucks partners recently volunteered at the Garland Hall Memorial Children’s Home, painting and refurbishing the orphanage. The company is also looking at ways to support food donation and book and clothing drives.
In line with its global efforts to connect youth to economic opportunities, Starbucks plans to work with the MultiCare Youth Foundation to develop a Life and Work Skills training program for local youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a focus on 16- to 29-year-olds who are not in school or employed. With funding from The Starbucks Foundation, the program is intended to support youth in both Montego Bay and Kingston and will include customer service skills training to ensure youth are ready to access employment in the retail, service, or hospitality industries. By working with the MultiCare Youth Foundation, Starbucks also plans to include volunteer opportunities for partners to serve as mentors to participating youth.
Starbucks has operated stores in the Caribbean since 2002, when it opened its first store in Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan. It now operates in six Caribbean markets, including the Bahamas, Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, and now Jamaica. For Starbucks, which first opened in 1971 in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market, the opening in Jamaica marks its 17th market in the Latin America and Caribbean region and 76th global market.