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LeBron James opened a Starbucks in his hometown to not just serve coffee but create a pipeline to the hospitality industry for local workers: 'It's changed my life a lot'

INSIDER 4/1/2023 (Sarah Al-Arshani)
LeBron James during the opening ceremonies of the I Promise School. Jason Miller/Getty Images © Jason Miller/Getty Images LeBron James during the opening ceremonies of the I Promise School. Jason Miller/Getty Images
  • Lebron James has been on a mission to break cyclical poverty in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. 
  • On Thursday, the first-ever Starbucks Community store opened mere blocks from his 'I Promise' school.
  • The store, part of his foundation's House Three Thirty, will help workers get hospitality certificates. 

Lebron James opened the first-ever Starbucks Community Store this week as part of his ongoing effort to help kids who were just like him, The Athletic reported. 

The Starbucks is merely blocks away from James' I Promise School, a public school the NBA star opened in 2018 to help at-risk students in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. 

The 46 employees at this hometown Starbucks not only get paid to work but also earn job-training credits towards a certificate for the hospitality industry, the Athletic reported. 


Alexis Schuler, the manager of the new Starbucks told the outlet she spent the past year working in stores on Kent State University campus to learn so she can teach her new coworkers.

"It's changed my life a lot," Schuler told the outlet. "I went from being at Starbucks as a barista to being a manager, and it's given me a whole new outlook on hospitality as an industry. It's given me insight into it that I didn't have before."

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that the Starbucks is inside House Three Thirty, a retail, dining and event community center from the LeBron James Family Foundation. The name is a homage to Akron's area code, 330.


The LeBron James Family Foundation bought and renovated the Tangier to become House Three Thirty in 2020. The facility, meant to be a community space, will feature more stores by the end of next year.

The Athletic reported that is expected to have a taco shop, an ice cream parlor, and a clothing store. The venue will also host small concerts and wedding receptions. Employees who will work in that store will also receive hospitality work training, according to the outlet. 

The initiative is a part of James's effort to break cyclical poverty in his community. 

"In everything we do as a Foundation, it's all about making our kids, parents, and people across the community believe there can be more in their lives than they ever dreamed possible," James said, according to WJW.

"We designed House Three Thirty to create opportunities and open doors to show them that anything is possible and that they can do it right here in Akron. We believe House Three Thirty will be a staple for our city, and we can't wait for people to come and experience it."

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