Starbucks will open store for deaf and hard of hearing customers this fall.
As part of the company’s commitment to “inclusion, accessibility and diversity,” Starbucks announced last week that it will soon open its first “signing store” in the U.S. According to a July 19, 2018 press release, the café will employ “Twenty to 25 deaf, hard of hearing and hearing partners from across the country.” It will be located in Washington D.C. at 6th & H Street near Gallaudet University, a federally chartered university for deaf and hard of hearing students. All employees will be proficient in American Sign Language so that they will be able to serve the store’s many deaf and hard of hearing customers.
“The National Association of the Deaf applauds Starbucks for opening a signing store that employs deaf and hard of hearing people,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf. “Starbucks has taken an innovative approach to incorporating deaf culture that will increase employment opportunities as well as accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing people, while at the same time educating and enlightening society.”
This is the second signing store that Starbucks has opened. The first opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2016. In addition to employing deaf and hard of hearing partners, the Washington D.C. store will showcase artwork and sell a custom mug designed by a deaf artist. Baristas will wear aprons embroidered with ASL while hearing employees will wear pins that say “I sign.”
Could this be a trend for other businesses? Enabling Devices hopes so!
Meanwhile, we’re doing our part to make life more accessible for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing as well as those with other communication challenges by creating and adapting toys and other products. Some of our most popular include:
Visually and Hearing Impaired Activity Center (#540)
The specially designed activity center enables individuals who are visually or hearing impaired to experience the joy of play. Includes a soft cloth that spins when the player presses a bright yellow plate, a bright blue plate that vibrates, and a fan.
Language Facilitator (#5310)
Promote functional communication! This two-switch communicator provides users with the visual and auditory feedback they need to begin forming and producing utterances and words.
Classroom Communication Kit (#9037)
In consultation with special educators, speech therapists, and assistive technologists, we’ve assembled this carefully curated kit of communication devices.