Starbucks Opens First US ‘Signing Store’
By Staff on Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Starbucks opened its first U.S. ‘Signing Store’ in Washington, D.C. this week, allowing customers to order in American Sign Language (ASL).
At first glance this Starbucks doesn’t look much different to any other Starbucks you might find on your street corner or highstreet, but at this branch of the coffee giant, all of the staff are fluent in ASL and most of them are deaf or hard-of-hearing themselves.
Those not familiar with ASL can also learn how to sign words for “coffee” and “espresso” thanks to a changing in-store chalkboard featuring a “sign of the week”.
The Starbucks signing store is located just blocks from Gallaudet University, one of the oldest universities serving the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in America.
“I hope the Signing Store will be embraced and accepted by those that live in this community. The fact that it is so close to Gallaudet University makes it that much more special,” said barista Crystal Harris.
Gallaudet University president Roberta Cordano, who is also the university’s first deaf woman president, said in a statement, that Starbucks’ decision to open the new store “expands the definition of what most people think of when they consider diversity.”