This week, Starbucks Jamaica began hiring for three main positions: Marketing Manager, Partner Resources Manager and Regional Operations Manager.
The chosen candidates will be expected to work in tourist areas within Hanover, St James, and Westmoreland. These details offer insight into locations where expansion may take place. Even so, Montego bay is set to be the first Starbucks location.
“We see a strong and vibrant market in Jamaica,” said Stephen Hector spokesman for the joint coffee venture, “It’s early days, but after Montego Bay, we see more to come. Each of these locations will be owned and operated by our Jamaica-based licensing partner Caribbean Coffee Traders,” he said.
The Import Discussion
Starbucks has an established relationship with Jamaica, they have sourced Blue Mountain Coffee for over 40 years. The company has been supplied by local coffee producers such as Wallenford Estate and Amber Estate in recent years.
The topic was evaded, however when the discussion arose about whether the company would import beans to the island.
“We look forward to providing additional clarity once we have had the chance to share our vision, and to receive feedback and guidance from the Coffee Industry Board.” Said Stephen Hector. The company also plans to work with local farmers but those arrangements have not been finalized either.
Incidentally earlier this year, Minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, Karl Samuda announced plans to impose a tax on coffee imports. This was to encourage local production of cheaper coffees, called ‘lowland’.
Oswald O’Meally, a long-standing Jamaica coffee farmer and an executive member of the Jamaica Coffee Growers Association (JCGA). Reveals that the association has not met with Starbucks to discuss the effects and conclude a plan of entry for the company.
He also made a comparison to Colombia, which exclusively sells their locally sourced beans. The country is the first Starbucks location, to operate on 100% locally sourced coffee beans, announced in 2014. However, Mr. O’Meally is aware that Jamaica cannot meet that demand, due to the relatively high price and the limited supply of local beans.
Meanwhile, it seems a part of the ‘Starbucks charm and intrigue’ is the variety they offer. The company sells brew and beans from Colombia and Ethiopia. It also offers select beans for its Reserve line from regions such as Antigua, Guatemala, Jamaica and Sumatra (an island Indonesian).