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Starbucks breaks ground for Augusta plant

EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Peter Gibbons (from left), the executive director of Global Supply Chain Operations; Sylvia Wilks, the vice president of Supply Chain Operations; Henry Ingram, the chairman of the Economic Development Authority Board; and Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver shovel dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of Starbucks' new soluble product factory in Augusta.
Friday, July 13, 2012 10:50 AM
Last updated 8:34 PM
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Representatives of Starbucks Coffee Co., the state economic development office and the Augusta community broke ground Friday on a $172 million manufacturing plant.

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Peter Gibbons, the executive director of Starbucks Global Supply Chain Operations, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of Starbucks' Augusta plant. He announced a $200,000 investment Starbucks is making as a part of the Augusta Regional Collaboration.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Peter Gibbons, the executive director of Starbucks Global Supply Chain Operations, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of Starbucks' Augusta plant. He announced a $200,000 investment Starbucks is making as a part of the Augusta Regional Collaboration.

The 180,000-square-foot facility will produce Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, the coffee base for Frappuccino drinks and many of Starbucks’ other ready-to-drink beverages and will employ 140. It is scheduled to open in early 2014.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver thanked members of the state and local economic development teams and state and city governments for their efforts in bringing the company to Augusta and praised Starbucks as a company that will fit into the community.

“Their core values mirror our community’s core values,” Copenhaver said. “I like the coffee, but I love the core values.”

“During such challenging economic times, I am thrilled that we are creating jobs and building something special right here in Georgia,” said Peter Gibbons, the executive vice president for Starbucks Global Supply Chain Operations.

Gibbons also announced a $200,000 investment Starbucks is making as a part of the Augusta Regional Collaboration, a new organization that will work to connect existing education, industry and arts to meet local needs.

“Today we promise you, completely and sincerely, to be a part of your community,” Gibbons said.

Starbucks chose the regional collaboration after consulting with local leaders about what the community most needed, Gibbons said.

“We always want to make sure that what we do is helpful to the community,” he said.

Consultant Matt Kwatinetz has been hired to help get the collaboration started, and he said the program will facilitate cooperation and growth in arts-led economic development downtown, education, energy sustainability downtown and business innovation and incubation.

“We’re here not to create something new, but to be the glue to connect existing programs,” he said.

Starbucks is the first tenant in the Augusta Corporate Park on Mike Padgett Highway. Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Development Authority of Richmond County, said Starbucks’ presence has already been a factor in an increased demand for space in the corporate park.

“This facility is going to set the stage for the rest of the park,” he said.

The Augusta plant is bringing jobs back to the U.S. that are outsourced to companies in Colombia and Switzerland. Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson said bringing back jobs from overseas not only gives the company more security over production processes but is an opportunity to help strengthen the American economy.

“It’s something we’re very proud of,” he said.

Hutson said Augusta was chosen as the home of the fifth U.S. Starbucks manufacturing facility because of its skilled workforce, access to advanced technology and logistics infrastructure.

Hutson said 75 percent of the jobs at the plant will be skilled processing workers, including maintenance and engineering technicians, roasting operators, soluble process operators and packaging operators. These employees will have two-year, four-year or higher levels of education. The remaining 25 percent will be management and administrative staff.

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David Parker
7923
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David Parker 07/13/12 - 11:18 am
1
0
Hear that? "excellent logistics infrastructure"

Welcome to our town Starbucks. Tell some of your super-corporate friends that our infrastructure doesn't jez work with coffee. Plus, that orange clay looks mighty fine on the Starbucks Green.

countyman
19507
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countyman 07/13/12 - 12:00 pm
2
4
The corporate at Starbucks

The corporate at Starbucks must be wearing those rose colored glasses too... They obviously didn't hear the sky is falling in RC, and there's nowhere safe in South Augusta... The direct flights to DC who started yesterday, and two $100 millions plants under construction is all an figment of imagination...

I can't believe Starbucks would invest $172 million, and purchased 100 acres in order to expand in the future....

TrulyWorried
12889
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TrulyWorried 07/13/12 - 12:41 pm
6
0
Countyman!!

Don't you start getting doubts now!!! You were doing soooo good!!

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 07/13/12 - 01:08 pm
3
1
Free Energy Drink

If anyone is interested from 12-3 today you can get a free Tall sample of Starbucks new energy drink, comes in Lime flavor or Rasberry hibiscus. I went and got one at lunch, pretty good. You can check it out at Starbucks website. Any new jobs in the area is good news, wish them success and good luck to the potential new hires.

kiwiinamerica
934
Points
kiwiinamerica 07/13/12 - 01:26 pm
1
0
@Countyman
Unpublished

Starbucks is a multinational corporation and they're not here for Augusta's unique, vibrant lifestyle, the harmonious nirvana which is South Augusta or because they think First Friday is "cool" to use a phrase which is popular around here. They're here because the costs of doing business in the CSRA are in their favor. They've likely been given a very good price on the land and construction costs are going to be reasonable. The plant is not labor intensive and will employ only 140 people.

This is not the start of an industrial explosion in the CSRA. This is part of the "service industry" economy. It's the phony economy which involves us making coffee and burgers for each other. Fast food is about all we export these days.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 07/13/12 - 02:05 pm
3
0
@ worried

That was TrulyFunny

Gage Creed
16437
Points
Gage Creed 07/13/12 - 07:09 pm
3
1
Those direct flights to DC

Those direct flights to DC are a Godsend...I know that an overwhelming majority of our citizens have laid awake numerous evenings, embroiled in conundrum, contemplating how they would get to our nation’s capital.... Our citizens can now rest easy....(PSYCH!)

countyman
19507
Points
countyman 07/14/12 - 12:11 am
1
1
Facts not opinions

NYC & D.C are the two most important destinations at Augusta Regional... I think somebody forgot Fort Gordon, Plant Vogtle, and SRS are located in the area..

Gage Creed
16437
Points
Gage Creed 07/14/12 - 01:55 am
2
0
I think that somebody forgot

I think that somebody forgot that flights related to Fort Gordon, Plant Vogtle and SRS are most likley flying out of FBO and not commercial flights. Could this possibly have any relation to the new FBO terminal at Augusta Regional?

KSL
124688
Points
KSL 07/14/12 - 06:01 am
1
0
Here is what my husband said

Here is what my husband said re the headline: I am surprised they didn't say "breaking grounds."

catfish20
250
Points
catfish20 07/14/12 - 07:07 am
2
0
Starbucks

Welcome to Augusta!

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 07/14/12 - 09:10 am
1
0
seenitB4
83988
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seenitB4 07/14/12 - 09:43 am
1
0
Notice sumthin

Have you ever noticed some look better in person than in pics??

Riverman1
81250
Points
Riverman1 07/14/12 - 10:11 am
1
0
We Look Cool With a Starbucks Cup

Maybe we can all get extra empty Starbucks cups to walk around with. You know kind of a fashion statement like teenage girls do with Starbucks cups in their hand.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3099
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/14/12 - 10:23 am
2
0
Soapy ... I missed you! You

Soapy ... I missed you! You have my same flare for sarcastic wit.

It often amazes me the numerous realities people either can't or refuse to see.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3099
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/14/12 - 10:26 am
1
0
Now I must hit the kitchen &

Now I must hit the kitchen & put my little mini-pod of Millstone breakfast blend into my Keurig & get my caffeine on. BTW does anyone else besides me think Starbucks coffee grounds smell like cat pee? Ewwww

countyman
19507
Points
countyman 07/14/12 - 11:06 am
0
1
Don't people working at SRS,

Don't people working at SRS, Fort Gordon, etc fly by themselves too... This is not even counting the amount of business travelers who will fly between DC & Augusta regularly......

The corporate at Regan National or US Airways didn't throw the names of diffrent cities into a hat, and magically pick Augusta..

I'm sure the high growth rate since the terminal opened in 2007, and DC/NYC being the two most sought after cities help made the decision...

Jake
32113
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Jake 07/14/12 - 11:27 am
1
0
Frogholler Blend

Maybe Starbucks can find a way to incorporate some local flavor into the names of their coffees.

Gage Creed
16437
Points
Gage Creed 07/14/12 - 12:32 pm
1
0
uhh...if you read US Airways

uhh...if you read US Airways press release...they have in fact added 14 cities that have non-stop to Regan National...you know...one flight in one flight out on a regional jet...So that means?

Looks to me like US Air is making DC a hub, there was and is a hub in Charlotte that provided connecting flights to DC and other locations.

Anyhow...welcome Starbucks!

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