News 12 First at Five, Friday, July 13, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Starbucks is breaking ground on a new manufacturing facility in Augusta.
"I'm thrilled," said Rep. Barbara Sims. "There is no downer on this one. This is all a plus."
The $172 million dollar investment is a first of it's kind venture for the company.
"This is our first Soluble coffee plant," said Executive Vice President Peter Gibbons. "We chose Augusta, and we are delighted to be here."
CNN America was on hand for the big announcement.
"These are challenging economic times," said Gibbons. "We all know that. And so it's a rare privilege to be able to stand here today to be breaking ground on a new manufacturing plant."
The 180,000 sq. Ft plant is the first company to join Augusta's new corporate park at 4760 Mike Padgett Highway.
"This area has been here 20 years," noted Rep. Sims. "It was developed 20 years ago. I think Augusta is on a zoom path."
The facility will produce products currently manufactured abroad, including Starbucks VIA Ready Brew as well as the coffee base for Frappuccino blended beverages and many of Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages.
"That's correct. All this product right now is produced overseas," said engineering manager John Stephenson. "We're bring jobs back to the Augusta area and back to the United States."
Stephenson says the plant will provide "high-quality" manufacturing jobs.
"Most people will need some basic technical skills," said Stephenson. "A two year technical degree would be a plus."
Starbucks is happy to help provide an economic jolt.
"This is huge they could have gone anywhere else in the United States," said Augusta mayor Deke Copehaver. ""They're going to establish a huge community presence almost immediately, and that's great."
Starbucks is pledging $200,000 for local community programs.
"We're investing money to make sure we are a good neighbor." said Gibbons. "We are growing quite fast and so this was a great opportunity to bring jobs back to America and build a new manufacturing facility."
How do you snag a job?
"If you go to the Starbucks website you'll find everything you need to know," said Gibbons. "If not, contact me...PGibbons@starbucks.com."