Starbucks plans $172 million Augusta plant

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 12:35 PM
Last updated 6:06 PM
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Starbucks Coffee Co. will be the first tenant in the Augusta Corporate Park with a $172 million plant, expected to create more than 140 jobs.

The new Augusta plant, Starbucks' fifth manufacturing facility in the United States, will be the company's first owned and operated facility in the world to produce soluble products, such as VIA Ready Brew, ingredients for Frappuccino and many of Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
The new Augusta plant, Starbucks' fifth manufacturing facility in the United States, will be the company's first owned and operated facility in the world to produce soluble products, such as VIA Ready Brew, ingredients for Frappuccino and many of Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages.

The Augusta Economic Development Authority announced Wednesday that Starbucks will build a 110,000- to 160,000-square-foot plant, which will occupy 100 acres in the Augusta Corporate Park, a 1,500 acre site off Mike Padgett Highway.

Construction will begin this spring and the plant is expected to open in January 2014.

The new Augusta plant, Starbucks’ fifth manufacturing facility in the United States, will be the company’s first owned and operated facility in the world to produce soluble products, such as VIA Ready Brew, ingredients for Frappuccino and many of Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages. Those products are currently produced outside the U.S., Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson said.

The plant will prepare and package ingredients and finished products for most of the company’s soluble-based beverages for all of North America and parts of Europe, according to a news release.

“With an abundance of skilled workers, a great quality of life, convenient access to transportation that is critical to our business and strong support from local and state leaders, Augusta is an ideal location for our newest manufacturing facility in the U.S. We’re proud to be expanding our connection with the Augusta community and to be creating American manufacturing jobs during such challenging economic times,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO.

At Wednesday’s annual shareholder meeting in Seattle, Schultz said it would have been more cost-effective to have the products manufactured outside the U.S., but the decision to build the Augusta plant came from a commitment to American manufacturing.

“The economics of it showed that it would be cheaper to build outside of the U.S. but it meant more to us to build in the U.S.,” he said.

Starbucks was looking at two other locations, said Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the development authority, and the project has been in talks about nine months.

“We’re absolutely thrilled,” Sprouse said. “We worked really hard for this one.”

He said the deciding factors for the company were the high caliber of the Augusta-area workforce and the existing logistics infrastructure with the Georgia Ports Authority’s Savannah operations.

“It kept coming back to workforce and training,” Sprouse said. “I can’t say enough about the roles Augusta Technical College, Augusta State University and Paine College had in this thing.”

Augusta officials didn’t schedule a news conference about the announcement because they had already planned to be in Atlanta to talk with lawmakers, including a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal.

Deal started his comments to the combined group from the chambers of commerce from Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties by beaming over a Starbucks shopping bag with a souvenir mug for him.

“Obviously, you already know of our success getting Starbucks to come to the Augusta area,” he said. “Any time you get a $172 million investment and 140 jobs that is good news for our state and certainly moving in the right direction.”

He said the Starbucks announcement was emblematic of developments in the state, such as last week’s groundbreaking by Caterpillar for a bulldozer plant in Athens. He is pushing legislation that he says would lure companies with tax cuts and a larger incentive fund.

Clinching the Starbucks deal was $600,000 in local improvements that local officials agreed to supply, such as grading, water and sewer lines and other infrastructure improvements. The company also qualified under state law for employee training, job credits, and tax credits for using the Port of Savannah to import its supplies and to export to England its finished product.

Thinning the trees at the Augusta Corporate Park made the site more attractive, especially to a company that tries to minimize its environmental impact, Sprouse said.

Augusta industrial recruiters hope that image will help them attract other companies with a similar orientation.

“We’re delighted to have a global company like Starbucks coming to the community,” said Henry Ingram, the chairman of the development authority.

The plant will be a great addition to the Augusta economy and community, Sprouse said, with a wide range of skilled jobs in a state-of-the-art facility.

“They are very environmentally conscious, and it’s a good, solid company with a tremendous reputation,” he said.

Hutson said the nearest of the four existing Starbucks plants is in Sandy Run, S.C., where they roast coffee beans.

The Augusta Corporate Park site was donated to the authority in 1993 by the Kimberly-Clark Corp., which once had planned to build a pulpwood facility to supply its Beech Island plant.

Morris News Service reporter Walter Jones contributed to this article.

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Riverman1
87157
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Riverman1 03/21/12 - 08:15 pm
1
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Examining the article, I'm

Examining the article, I'm not sure about the quality of the Augusta workforce from what's been published about the quality of the public schools and so on.

But there's no doubt Augusta Tech can provide excellent training for their workers. If a factory of some kind can come in and know the tech school will train their workers for free, that's a big plus.

Lastly, understand the importance of the port of Savannah in this decision. A deep harbor with a well run ports facility is critical to the economy of all Georgia.

pearlthesquirrel
786
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pearlthesquirrel 03/21/12 - 08:15 pm
2
1
You people do know that the
Unpublished

You people do know that the CEO of Starbucks - Mr. Howard Schultz - was paid $21,733,013 in 2010.........don't you? If I've said it once, I've said it a million times - ok, a million and one times: "You don't get rich through hard work, you get rich by having other people work hard for you." Who are those "other people"? Well, those "other people" will be the folks making about 18 cents over minimum wage at this plant. Never have drank a cup of coffee in my life - never will drink a cup of coffee in my life - and certainly will never drink a cup of Starbucks coffee in my life. Isn't a cup of their "joe" about $6.95 - give or take? When somebody explains the Starbucks and bottled water phenomenon to me, that'll be the first person to explain the Starbucks and bottled water phenomenon to me. Peace out!

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 03/21/12 - 08:39 pm
3
1
pearl, industries in Augusta

pearl, industries in Augusta pay very well and I seriously doubt Starbucks will be any different. I know one imparticular employer that start out paying their bottom employee's about $6 over minimum wage so although you have an issue with how much Mr. Schultz makes or whether you will ever drink a cup of Starbucks coffee, this development is nothing but good for Augusta.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 03/21/12 - 08:48 pm
4
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pearl, the occupy movement is

pearl, the occupy movement is so yesterday.

justthefacts
22767
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justthefacts 03/21/12 - 08:58 pm
7
1
Yeah, Schultz never worked

Yeah, Schultz never worked hard: Howard Schultz was born to a German-Jewish family on July 19, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of ex-US Army trooper and then truck driver Fred Schultz, and his wife Elaine.[4] With his younger sister, Ronnie, and brother, Michael, he grew up in the Canarsie Bayview Houses of the New York City Housing Authority. As Schultz's family was poor, he saw an escape in sports such as baseball, football, and basketball. He went to Canarsie High School, from which he graduated in 1971[5]. In high school, Schultz excelled at sports and was awarded an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University[4] – the first person in his family to go to college. A member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, Schultz received his bachelor's degree in Communications in 1975. He has two children, named Eliahu Jordan, who goes by Jordan, and Addison.

countyman
20631
Points
countyman 03/21/12 - 09:43 pm
1
2
I was stuck in a meeting all

I was stuck in a meeting all day, and that's why I couldn't respond to the article sooner. Were finally taking advantage of the massive corporate park in South Augusta.. Hopefully we can draw additional companies towards the corporate park and the future Augusta Regional industrial park..

Craig Spinks... I don't know if Starbucks was offered some kind of incentives, bonds, etc.. I think you should know when the Development Authority of RC issues bonds to diffrent companies moving here.. This isn't free money, and those bonds have to be paid back over time with interest...

Don't forget the $115 million Rockwood plant starts construction this year..

wvcoalminersdtr
0
Points
wvcoalminersdtr 03/21/12 - 11:19 pm
0
0
Yay! More jobs for Augusta!

Yay! More jobs for Augusta!

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 03/22/12 - 12:16 am
1
2
Always figured Augusta for a

Always figured Augusta for a Dunkin' Donuts town.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 03/22/12 - 10:28 am
2
4
Starbucks originates from and

Starbucks originates from and is based in Seattle, Washington, one of the most liberal cities in America. The coffee is laced with liberteria, a substance that gradually transforms consumers into liberals. It’s all part of the Cloward–Piven- Alinsky-Soros-Vegetarian Overlord Strategy to destroy America from within.

http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/conspiracy_theory/the_paranoid_mentality/th...

itsanotherday1
45520
Points
itsanotherday1 03/22/12 - 12:35 am
2
2
Only a liberal could drink

Only a liberal could drink that bitter, burnt crap and say it was good. then pay them $5 for something I can brew better for a DIME.

seenitB4
90981
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seenitB4 03/22/12 - 01:30 am
0
0
When I say South Augusta will

When I say South Augusta will rise again...why can't yall just believe me...this is GREAT NEWS....
I love the coffee....Dunkin Donuts coffee too....all of it.
It helps me think in the am...

scgator
1042
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scgator 03/22/12 - 07:52 am
1
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whoa

whoa

allhans
24053
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allhans 03/22/12 - 08:26 am
0
0
It's jobs! I wouldn't expect

It's jobs! I wouldn't expect a plant worker to make the salary of the CEO, but then I am one of the worker bees.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 03/22/12 - 02:20 pm
0
0
LOL..it IS really terrible
Unpublished

LOL..it IS really terrible coffee.....only silly folks pay that kind of money for bad coffee (A fool and his money are soon parted)....but the plant and jobs are a very good thing for Augusta.

burninater
9693
Points
burninater 03/22/12 - 11:19 am
0
0
Pearl, the activist attacks

Pearl, the activist attacks on Starbucks are some of the most misguided and self-defeating out there. Starbucks is a global leader on progressivist business strategy: higher-than-average wages for the sector; full medical coverage for part-time workers; industry-high charitable contribution; minority and women-owned sourcing initiatives; industry-leading organic and sustainability product sourcing; industry-leading Fair Trade exchange; aggressive diversity training and hiring practices -- I could go on and on.

The closet conspiracist in me likes to theorize that the anti-Starbucks meme was started by moles in the anti-whatever movement to get them fighting against exactly what they were fighting for ...

burninater
9693
Points
burninater 03/22/12 - 11:34 am
0
1
Only a liberal could drink

Only a liberal could drink that bitter, burnt crap and say it was good. then pay them $5 for something I can brew better for a DIME.
----------
Ha! Sounds like a pretty authoritative understanding of what it means to be bitter ...

allhans
24053
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allhans 03/22/12 - 12:07 pm
0
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itsanotherday. I prefer my

itsanotherday. I prefer my own coffee too, but I don't have an issue with those who like the choices at Starbuck.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 03/22/12 - 12:10 pm
1
0
Specsta, I was very

Specsta, I was very surprised by the disrespectful comments you made yesterday regarding the working class of people in Augusta. I didn't think it sounded like anything or any attitude that I've heard you take. I thought you had a heart for the struggles of others. I guess that just includes those who are on welfare or those wish to vote without voter identification, not those who seek to take responsibility for themselves and their families. I chose not to copy and post it, because I find the remarks shameful and wouldn't want to mistakenly be given credit for them. The comments can be viewed at 5:18 pm. Wednesday.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 03/22/12 - 02:23 pm
1
0
Have no problem with
Unpublished

Have no problem with Starbucks..they have figured out the American dream...sell a sub-par product for way too much and convince the consumer they are too cool to care...LOL GO Starbucks!

specsta
6610
Points
specsta 03/22/12 - 06:31 pm
0
0
Willow Bailey, There was no

Willow Bailey,

There was no disrespect toward the working class. If my words came across that way, it was not my intention. The words I wrote came out of frustration of what I see take place in this city on a daily basis - the continued relegation of Augusta to a third-tier city with no hope of ever achieving first-class status.

My point is that Augusta is full of assembly/plant jobs and that it is disheartening to see no serious efforts being made by our city to entice other types of businesses to locate here.

Augusta is bursting at the seams with folks that have other skills and talents. For example, look at how the arts community struggles here. Folks that are writers and painters and dancers and actors and designers and musicians and vocalists and so on. They cannot make it in Augusta. It makes no sense. Yet scarce attention is paid to this segment of our population. So they leave and contribute their gifts to other cities, cities that benefit both socially and financially from Augusta's loss.

Why is another manufacturing plant heralded as some sort of manna from heaven? Yes, it will provide needed jobs for some folks, but it is also a bit sad that Augusta is seen as only a resource for manufacturing labor. What about the jobs for folks that don't fit into that category? Aren't they worthy of having a source of income too?

itsanotherday1
45520
Points
itsanotherday1 03/22/12 - 06:29 pm
0
0
specsta, a hat tip to you for

specsta, a hat tip to you for the explanation and sentiments about the arts scene.
However, I think the arts support is a function of supply and demand. Augusta just isn't an area that has people who are into a lot of the finer arts. If it is spending money on the broader interests, people say no, no, no. They are perfectly happy recreating at the buffet on Friday nights.

itsanotherday1
45520
Points
itsanotherday1 03/22/12 - 06:48 pm
0
0
allhans, the jab at liberals

allhans, the jab at liberals was tongue in cheek. I don't care for the popular bitter brews, but many do.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 03/22/12 - 10:48 pm
0
0
specsta, I appreciate your

specsta, I appreciate your reponse and attitude. Thank you. wb

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 03/22/12 - 11:07 pm
0
0
"... Augusta is seen as only

"... Augusta is seen as only a resource for manufacturing labor. What about the jobs for folks that don't fit into that category? Aren't they worthy of having a source of income too?"

Ummmm, no. A job has nothing to do with worthiness; it is about having a marketable skill --the ability to do work to make the employer money; thought I'd add that as you seek to only champion welfare drones. Though contemptible to you, any job is preferable to someone with dignity and an empty wallet.

You should try to meet some of them. They keep your favorites in housing and cell phones.

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