On Tuesday, the coffee chain’s Clarksville, Tennessee, location became the 37th store designated as a Military Family Store, meaning that it’s now staffed primarily by veterans and military spouses.
“Seventy-five percent of my business is the military,” store manager and military spouse Shannon Feltz, 47, told Fox News. “We are so excited about this announcement. I’ve never felt so supported by a company in my life.”
In addition to the Clarksville location, Starbucks unveiled four other Military Family Stores on Tuesday, including two in Texas serving Camp Mabry in Austin and Ft. Bliss in El Paso, one serving Naval War College in Rhode Island and one in Massachusetts near Joint Base Hanscom. The stores are part of the coffee chain’s efforts to provide jobs to veterans and military spouses while also serving as a place for service members to come together, connect and share stories. The company has pledged to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2025 and currently employs more than 10,000.
“Service members and military spouses are the best example of engaged citizens.” Starbucks senior vice president John Kelly said in a statement. “Long after leaving active duty, they continue to vote, volunteer and serve their communities at a high rate, serving as the best examples of citizenship. We are honored to serve as a place where these American heroes can continue to impact their community in a positive way.”
Matt Kress, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and now manages the veterans and military affairs program for Starbucks, remembered the “frightening period” when he transitioned from active duty life to civilian life.
“Some of our veterans are only with us for a year, while others are here longer,” Kress told Fox News. “This is their landing spot to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their life.”