Last week Next American City published a story about Starbucks’ Create Jobs for USA program and the ways it’s influencing job creation in cities. In case you haven’t seen the program,” Create Jobs for USA”:http://www.createjobsforusa.org/ asks Starbucks customers to donate $5. In return, you get a wristband and your money goes towards Community Development Financial Institutions (better known as CDFIs) that lend money to businesses that in turn create jobs. According to the article, Starbucks’ main partner, the Opportunity Finance Network, has funded 60 CDFIs in 45 states, producing 4,500 jobs.
But when you think of Starbucks’ effect on cities, you hardly think of job creation. Starbucks stores are loathed for their high-priced coffee, generic design and redundancy — for example, there are more than 10 of them within a five block radius of Philadelphia’s City Hall. At the same time, they have become a defacto public place, with free wifi and essentially public bathrooms.