Friday, April 29, 2011

Praise for Starbucks plan

The community should applaud the efforts of Urban Renewal Agency members Mark Eshman and Baird Gourlay for standing strong against the "vocal minority" who object to Starbucks' leasing space in the Ketchum Visitor Center.

What this community, as well as most communities across America, needs is jobs, not ping-pong tables and "cool signs that will turn a visitor's head" in a visitor center, as Bob Jonas opined in the April 22 Mountain Express.

Today's visitor center belongs on iPhone apps. If you want a cool visitor center, build it on the Internet. The rent is cheaper, and the Internet reaches a larger audience, is more dynamic, is more interactive and can better display the incredible amenities of our community.

Starbucks, on the other hand, offers jobs, health care benefits to full- and part-time employees, 401ks, tuition reimbursement programs and stock investment plans.

It sources 84 percent of its coffee from growers adhering to its Coffee and Farmer Equity practices, provided $14.6 million to organizations that make loans to coffee farmers and in 2010 reduced its water consumption by 21.6 percent over 2008 levels. Starbucks consistently ranks in Fortune magazine's list of "The 100 Best Companies to Work For." Last year the coffee giant's CEO, Howard Schultz, refused investor pressure to dial back on health care costs.

Personally, my next cup of Starbucks coffee will be my first, but I welcome their presence in our community.


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