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What are Starbucks military family stores?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Forget unicorn frappuccinos, Starbucks has just launched something even better.

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Starbucks in the news

If you’ve been online this week reading news or social media, you’ve likely come across legions of posts about Starbucks. While that unicorn frappuccino did look enticing, the latest, coolest, Starbucks news has nothing to do with their brightly colored beverages.

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Instead, it announces the launch of Starbucks’ “military family stores.”

Starbucks newest launch

“Military Family Stores” are staffed primarily by veterans and military spouses as part of Starbucks effort to employ service member and their families nationwide.

So far, 37 of these stores have been launched.

Located near military bases, all of these stores offer the same thing: a warm atmosphere, thick with familiar military feelings (like Starbucks mugs with the logo “Proudly serving those who’ve served”), and support for military groups such as Blue Star Families, Team Red White and Blue, and Tragedy Assistant Programs for Survivors. Many of these stores also offer “Military Mondays;” a collaboration between local veteran service organizations and Starbucks that offers pro bono legal support and other veteran and military spouse services at the company’s stores.

Starbucks stated in their recent press release that they plan to dedicate 100 more military stores across the U.S. over the next five years.

These stores focus on, “helping to create a culture of understanding between military and non-military customers – an important step toward ensuring service men and women experience smooth transitions back into the civilian world.”

Why it matters

More than 453,000 veterans were unemployed in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many of these veterans are also homeless. Can you imagine serving your country, being discharged, and then having nowhere to go because you have no family, no paycheck, and no idea what you might like to do with the rest of your life?

If your life has been focused on your service and training, deciding what the next step should be can be scary.

While VA hospitals and counseling centers are available to veterans, they are often overcrowded, underfunded, and unable to keep up with the many veterans who need quality care.

A sense of community

Veterans and their families need a place to go for support and comradery. For many veterans, once their service is over, they feel lost because they no longer have that familiar connection to those who have similar experiences and backgrounds. Oftentimes, this can lead to isolation, depression, and the worsening of service and battle-related illnesses and conditions. Starbucks has long been hailed as a favorite hangout for students and businesspeople, so it seems like a logical step for Starbucks to be a preferred spot for veterans to come and connect.

Starbucks is making their “Military Family Stores” about more than just connecting, however.

The company committed to hiring 25,000 veteran and military spouses by 2025 and this seems to be a large stepping stone towards that goal. John Kelly, a Starbucks senior vice president stated to Fox News, “service members and military spouses are the best example of engaged citizens. Long after leaving active duty, they continue to vote, volunteer, and serve their communities at a high rate, serving as the best examples of citizenships. We are honored to serve as a place where these American heroes can continue to impact their community in a positive way.”

Giving back

My favorite part of Starbucks’ new program is the “Adopt a Military Unit” program. Stores participating in this program sponsor military units and send care packages to active duty military while they are deployed. There are so many soldiers that do not have someone to send them packages while they are deployed. Kudos to Starbucks for taking these steps to help provide for our service men and women, not only physically with jobs and care packages, but also with mental and emotional support by giving them a renewed sense of belonging and an outlet to express their experiences with people who will know all too well what they’ve been through – support is one of the best things you can offer anyone, especially someone who’s served.

While this certainly isn’t a magical fix for the struggles many veterans face, it is nice to see such a large corporation making an effort to take care of our veterans who are so frequently forgotten.Click To Tweet

If you or a veteran you know is struggling, please contact the Veteran’s Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat online to a counselor or send a confidential text message to 838255.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Business News

Asking the wrong questions can ruin your job opportunity

(BUSINESS NEWS) An HR expert discusses the best (and worst) questions she’s experienced during candidate interviews. it’s best to learn from others mistakes.

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When talking to hiring managers outside of an interview setting, I always find myself asking about their horror stories as they’re usually good for a laugh (and a crash course in what not to do in an interview). A good friend of mine has worked in HR for the last decade and has sat in on her fair share of interviews, so naturally I asked her what some of her most notable experiences were with candidates – the good and the bad, in her own words…

“Let’s see, I think the worst questions I’ve ever had are typically related to benefits or vacation as it demonstrates that their priorities are not focused on the actual job they will be performing. I’ve had candidates ask how much vacation time they’ll receive during an initial phone screen (as their only question!). I’ve also had them ask about benefits and make comparisons to me over the phone about how our benefits compare to their current employer.

I once had a candidate ask me about the age demographics of our office, which was very uncomfortable and inappropriate! They were trying to determine if the attorneys at our law firm were older than the ones they were currently supporting. It was quite strange!

I also once had a candidate ask me about the work environment, which was fine, but they then launched into a story about how they are in a terrible environment and are planning on suing their company. While I understand that candidates may have faced challenges in their previous roles or worked for companies that had toxic working environments, it is important that you do not disparage them.

In all honesty, the worst is when they do not have any questions at all. In my opinion, it shows that they are not really invested in the position or have not put enough thought into their decision to change jobs. Moving to a new company is not a decision that should be made lightly and it’s important for me as an employer to make sure I am hiring employees who are genuinely interesting in the work they will be doing.

The best questions that I’ve been asked typically demonstrate that they’re interested in the position and have a strong understanding of the work they would be doing if they were hired. My personal favorite question that I’ve been asked is if there are any hesitations or concerns that I may have based on the information they’ve provided that they can address on the spot. To me, this demonstrates that they care about the impression that they’ve made. I’ve asked this question in interviews and been able to clarify information that I did not properly explain when answering a question. It was really important to me that I was able to correct the misinformation as it may have stopped me from moving forward in the process!

Also, questions that demonstrate their knowledge base about the role in which they’re applying for is always a good sign. I particularly like when candidates reference items that I’ve touched on and weave them into a question.

A few other good questions:
• Asking about what it takes to succeed in the position
• Asking about what areas or issues may need to be addressed when first joining the company
• Asking about challenges that may be faced if you were to be hired
• Asking the employer what they enjoy most about the company
• I am also self-centered, so I always like when candidates ask about my background and how my current company compares to previous employers that I’ve worked for. Bonus points if they’ve actually looked me up on LinkedIn and reference specifics :)”

Think about the best and worst experiences you’ve had during an interview – and talk to others about the same topic – and see how that can help you with future interviews.

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Business News

AdvoCare MLM was painted as a pyramid scheme! Well color me surprised

(BUSINESS NEWS) AdvoCare is the most recent case of an MLM being called out as a pyramid scheme by FTC, but there’s plenty more MLMs where that came from…

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AdvoCare business structure

It’s always a good day when an MLM (multi-level marketing business) actually suffers legal repercussions. Granted, these days don’t happen nearly as often as we’d like – MLM CEOs have historically had deep pockets and a far reach – which means it’s all the more reason to celebrate when one gets called out.

Today’s culprit is AdvoCare, a Texas-based “wellness” company. AdvoCare has been fined $150 million by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for operating a pyramid scheme. The company, as well as a few of its top influencers, have been misleading people when it comes to how much money they could earn. This is pretty typical behavior for MLMs in general, though many are careful to couch your potential earnings in vague terms.

For the record, the majority of users lost money, and most who managed to turn a profit made a maximum of just $250. I say ‘just’ because it’s hard to know how long someone would have had to work to not only break even, but manage to turn a profit. MLMs make big claims about earning money, but when you have to pour a hefty sum of cash into the products, it can take a while just to break even.

That’s why many MLMs, including AdvoCare, push contributors to recruit, rather than sell the product. And if you’re thinking that sounds like a pyramid scheme, you’re totally right. This method of putting recruiting first is part of the reason AdvoCare has gotten in trouble with the FTC.

In response, AdvoCare is moving away from multi-level marketing sales and pivoting to selling products directly to retail stores, which in turn sell to customers.

Now, with AdvoCare’s downfall, don’t be surprised if other MLMs insist that they’re different because they haven’t gotten in trouble with the FTC. In fact, plenty of MLMs are quick to tell you that they’re totally legal and totally not a pyramid scheme. Sure, Jan.

First of all, if there’s a big focus on recruiting, that’s obviously a big red flag. There are plenty of pyramid scheme MLMs out there that just haven’t gotten caught yet. But there are other sneaky ways an MLM will try to rip you off. For instance, some companies will insist you buy tons of product to keep your place, and that product can be very hard to unload. Not to mention, many of the products MLMs tout are subpar at best.

AdvoCare getting called out by the FTC is a great start, but MLMs seem kind of like hydras. Cut down one and two more seem to spring up in its place. So be vigilant, y’all. Just because an MLM hasn’t gotten caught yet doesn’t guarantee it won’t still scam you out of your hard earned cash.

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Business News

Bose is closing their retail stores, but we haven’t heard the last of them

(BUSINESS NEWS) Over the last 30 years Bose has become so well understood by consumers that they don’t even need retail stores anymore. We hear them just fine.

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Over the next few months, Bose plans to close all of their retail stores in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. The company made the announcement last week. With 119 stores closing, presumably hundreds of Bose employees will be laid off, but the company has not revealed exact numbers.

However, this shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the maker of audio equipment is struggling to stay afloat. Rather, the move marks a major change in how consumers purchase tech gear.

When the Framingham, Massachusetts-based company opened its first U.S. retail store in 1993, it was making home entertainment systems for watching DVDs and listening to CDs. According to Colette Burke, Bose’s vice president of global sales, these first brick-and-mortar locations “gave people a way to experience, test, and talk to us” about Bose products. “At the time, it was a radical idea,” she says, “but we focused on what our customers needed and where they needed it – and we’re doing the same thing now.”

When a lot of this equipment was new, consumers may have had more questions and a need to see the products in action before purchasing. Nowadays, we all know what noise-canceling headphones are; we all know what a Bluetooth speaker is. We’re happy to read about the details online before adding products to our virtual shopping cart. The ability for Bose to close its retail stores is probably also an indicator that Bose has earned strong brand recognition and a reputation as a reliable maker of audio equipment.

In other words, consumers are less and less inclined to need to check out equipment in person before they buy it. For those who do, Bose products can still be purchased at stores like Best Buy, Target, and Apple. But overall, Bose can’t ignore the fact that their products “are increasingly purchased through e-commerce,” such as on Amazon or directly from their website.

In a statement, Bose also said that it has become a “larger multi-national company, with a localized mix of channels tailored for the country or region.” While Bose is shutting down its retail stores in several continents, it will continue to operate stores in China, the United Arab Emirates, India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea.

Burke said the decision to close so many retail stores was “difficult” because it “impacts some of our amazing store teams who make us proud every day.” Bose is offering “outplacement assistance and severance to employees that are being laid off.”

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