Starbucks plans to open a store where all employees will be proficient in American Sign Language.
It is the coffee giant’s first “Signing Store” in the United States. The shop on the campus of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., is to open in October.
Starbucks said it will hire between 20 and 25 people to work at the store. All employees — whether deaf, hard of hearing or hearing — will be proficient in ASL.
Deaf baristas will have ASL aprons embroidered by a deaf supplier, and hearing partners who sign will have an “I Sign” pin.
“This is a historic moment in Starbucks’ ongoing journey to connect with the deaf and hard of hearing community . . . and continue to find ways to be more inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all,” said Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president of U.S. retail.
The store will feature artwork and a custom mug designed by a deaf artist.
A similar Starbucks Signing Store opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2016.