Starbucks has opened a signing store in Penang, which joins existing signing stores in Kuala Lumpur, Washington DC and Guangzhou.
The store creates career opportunities while also serving as place for the city's Deaf community to host sign-language workshops and career-development seminars, the company said.
The three-story, 4,600-square-foot store includes touchpoints designed specifically to meet the needs of Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees and customers, including visual alarms, digital trays, and point-of-sale systems with an attached customer display. It also has a mural by local Deaf artist Lim Anuar, and a collection of exclusive merchandise for sale.
Starbucks Malaysia partnered with the Penang Deaf Association for training and development, including internship opportunities and sign-language classes for the store’s seven hearing-able employees.
Sydney Quays, managing director of Starbucks Malaysia & Brunei:
The overwhelming success of our first Signing Store in Kuala Lumpur in 2016 demonstrated the importance of representation and belonging in the workplace. It taught us how valuing different perspectives not only contributes back to the business, but also make meaningful changes that enriches lives. The reason that we chose Penang is because of its rich culture and historic relationship with the Deaf community in Malaysia, spanning more than 50 years.
Razman Tan Abdullah, president of the Penang Deaf Association:
We’re very excited to partner with Starbucks to provide richer career opportunities and sense of belonging to the Deaf community in Penang. Starbucks stores are a place for many kinds of people to come together, and we’re proud to invite everyone to experience the vibrant Deaf culture that has thrived here in Penang for over 70 years.
Starbucks came to Malaysia in 1998 and now has 300 stores in 58 cities, employing more than 4,000 people.