Starbucks Opens First Store in the U.S. Specifically for Deaf Customers Where All Employees Use American Sign Language

A Starbucks signing pin is shown on Monday, October 22, 2018 at Starbucks first U.S. Signing Store in Washington D.C.
(Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

Starbucks just opened its first store in the U.S. that specifically caters to deaf customers in Washington, D.C.

The Starbucks “Signing Store” is located near Gallaudet University, a private school for deaf students and others with partial hearing loss.

The coffee shop is staffed only by people fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). Deaf baristas wear green aprons that say “Starbucks” in ASL while other baristas wear pins that say “I Sign.”

An apron is shown on Monday, October 22, 2018 at Starbucks first U.S. Signing Store in Washington D.C. (Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, visited the store on its opening day.

She hailed the move when it was first announced by Starbucks in July, tweeting “Bravo” and “I can’t wait to order my hot chair latte (non fat) in sign.”

Customers who don’t know ASL can use a tablet to order at the store.

A customer takes an order on Monday, October 22, 2018 at Starbucks first U.S. Signing Store in Washington D.C.
(Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)
A partner holds a mug on Monday, October 22, 2018 at Starbucks first U.S. Signing Store in Washington D.C.
(Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)
A mural is shown on Monday, October 22, 2018 at Starbucks first U.S. Signing Store in Washington D.C.
(Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

Each week the store posts a “sign of the week” that teaches customers a new sign in ASL. This week’s board shows how to sign the word “coffee.”

The Signing Store also features a custom mug and artwork that was designed by Yiqiao Wang, a deaf artist and adjunct professor at Gallaudet University.

The store was designed to help foster easy communication and is equipped with low glare reflective surfaces, open spaces and visual displays for customers to check and pick up orders.

Although this Starbucks store is the first in the U.S., a Starbucks Signing Store opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2016.

Starbucks District Manager Margaret Houston presents an apron to Store Manager Matthew Gilsbach on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Starbucks first U.S. Signing Store in Washington D.C.
(Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)
Starbucks District Manager Margaret Houston presents an apron to partner Glen Cole on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Starbucks first U.S. Signing Store in Washington D.C.(Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)
Partners take an order on Monday, October 22, 2018 at Starbucks first U.S. Signing Store in Washington D.C.
(Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

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SOURCE: ABC News, Caterina Adreano