Starbucks prompts varying responses from coffee drinkers in Seattle.
I get coffee at those shops, but I also go to Starbucks because of its convenient location near my office downtown and the incredibly cheerful staff at the Columbia Center shop.
But it has always bugged me that most of the cups on offer at Starbucks are made in China and I have repeatedly asked the staff whether Starbucks could domestically source some of its coffee cups. Well it seems my requests finally made their way to Howard Schultz. The New York Times reported today that Starbucks shops will soon be featuring coffee mugs made by members of our extended American family working at the American Mug and Stein Company of East Liverpool, Ohio. East Liverpool is just across the Ohio River from Newell, West Virginia where the Homer Laughlin China Company makes the iconic Fiesta dinnerware. American Mug was on the verge of closing last fall, but the Starbucks contract has turned out to really be a lifeline.
This story shows what a huge difference an American retailer can make when it decides to source its products domestically. We should challenge the retailers we frequent to offer more products made by small domestic manufacturers like American Mug. Retailers listen to their customers. If we give them a good reason to stock products made by members of our extended American family, it is likely they will make the effort to seek out firms like American Mug. We have more power than we know to create jobs for people living in this great nation. All we have to do is exercise it. And that is what I plan to do as soon as I get my coffee. My double-tall, non-fat, 180 degree, no foam latte in my Starbucks branded, American Mug. Wow, that’s a mouthful!