Starbucks factory investments to create 150 jobs

Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:28pm EDT
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By Lisa Baertlein

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp said on Wednesday it would spend $180 million on U.S. factories, creating 150 manufacturing jobs, and that it would get into the $8 billion U.S. energy drink market with a new product.

The company also said that this summer it would begin selling coffee mugs made at a once-dormant factory in Ohio.

The world's largest coffee chain, which recently started a fund to spur U.S. job creation, said it would build a factory in Augusta, Georgia, and expand an existing roasting plant in Sandy Run, South Carolina, to include packaging facilities.

The new plant will be Starbucks' first company-owned and -operated facility to produce VIA instant coffee and ingredients for Frappuccino.

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz has in the past year urged other CEOs to take a bigger role in the United States' economic revival and commit to creating jobs.

Speaking at the company's annual shareholder meeting in Seattle on Wednesday, Schultz said Starbucks had decided to make the investment in the United States, even though it could have saved money by doing it in low-cost overseas markets.

"Delivering long-term shareholder value is essential. But today's increasingly complex world requires companies, including Starbucks, to hold ourselves to higher standards," he said.

Starbucks said the Ohio-made mugs were the first product in an ongoing relationship with that manufacturer. It sells mugs and other products made in China.   Continued...

Starbucks president of Channel Development, Jeff Hansberry, talks to shareholders during its Annual Meeting of Shareholders, March 21, 2012, in Seattle, WA. REUTERS/Robert Sorbo