Following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the acquittal of Darren Wilson on the charge of murder; what should have been peaceful protests throughout the city often resulted in vandalism and looting. A year later, many local business owners still have been unable to pick up the pieces of their livelihood.
Natalie Dubose, owner of Natalie’s Cakes and More had her storefront burned down and vandalized in the midst of a protest about Wilson. “It was this time last year that we were cleaning up glass and debris on the strip of South Florissant Road,” she said. “It was a lot of tears that day, but at the same time a lot of love was shown.”
Starbucks recently partnered with Dubose to offer her desserts at dozens of local stores throughout Missouri. The coffee chain will establish it’s first location in Ferguson in Spring 2016 as apart of it’s new diversity initiative.
Within the next year, 15 more stores will be opened in low to medium income neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Phoenix, Chicago, and Jamaica Queens. Dubose is one of the minority women business owners that will be suppliers of the new locations.
Starbucks will also provide a job training and customer service program to assist with economic development in the oftentimes poverty stricken areas. James Knowles III Mayor of Ferguson acknowledged his gratitude to Starbucks for empowering his city. “With all the things we’ve learned over the past year, I think it’s important that we realize that both our urban communities and our suburban inner-ring communities need investment.”
Dubose also expressed her appreciation for the way in which a negative situation has become a blessing, “I’m just grateful that at this time so many good things have happened. The sun does shine after that storm.”
(Source: Huffington Post)