Starbucks has opened its first Signing Store in Washington DC, where all employees are fluent in American Sign Language. It is located down the road from Gallaudet University, a university which teaches both in English and Sign.
The store offers a range of features to make the process easier for those who can’t hear, and was inspired by a similar store which opened in Kuala Lumpur in 2016. The store design follows the principles of DeafSpace, designed by Gallaudet University and architect Hansel Bauman and include space and proximity, sensory reach, mobility and proximity, light, colour and acoustics.
The store will also feature a special mug with art designed by deaf artist Jena Floyd.
“I’m still pinching myself that my work on the mug will be seen by the public — especially with the exposure from Starbucks,” Floyd said. “Also, I’m so excited to see the first Signing Store here in America — especially with the design inside the store that’s deaf-friendly, staff that use ASL, and artwork by deaf artists. This is something tangible we as deaf people can show what we’re capable of as contributing citizens of our society.”