EDITORIAL: Starbucks has bean a good neighbor

York Dispatch

It's been 20 years since Starbucks opened its roasting plant in East Manchester Township, perfuming the air of northeastern York with its distinctive coffee scent.

That smell might have grown old for the neighborhoods around Espresso Way — showing there's a finite capacity even for one of the best aromas in the world. It could be a bacon-cooking operation, and that smell would probably lose its appeal, too.

But here's what hasn't gotten old about this friendly corporate neighbor: decent-paying jobs, benefits for part-time workers, "Bean stock" for employees, hiring veterans, helping employees with tuition, and now an "Inclusion Academy" for on-the-job-training of people with physical or mental disabilities.

This is on top of the myriad other socially responsible practices Starbucks employs, such as fair-trade practices for international purchases.

So far as corporate neighbors go, Starbucks keeps a tidy lawn, a clean porch, and improves the property values for the whole block.

We're lucky to have them here, in a plant that has grown from 44 to more than 500 employees over the years. It has grown from one York County retail location to four full-size stores and a bunch of kiosks in Target, Giant Food Stores and other retailers.

To the powers-that-be in attracting new businesses in York County: more, please. Whatever you did to bring Starbucks, do it again, and vigorously.

Because we tried to think of another company in York County that's so good to its employees and so responsible on a national and international level, and we couldn't.

It's a subjective argument, and we're sure you'll let us know if we're missing someone.

But it seems much of what built York County, much of what was good in corporate partnerships, has moved away.

Or in some cases, has at least threatened to.

Maybe the day will come when Starbucks also pulls the "No seriously, we're going to leave if you don't give us tax breaks" stunts we've seen from other giant York County companies.

But for now, Starbucks leaves us — literally — with a good taste in our mouths, and yours.

And that savory sauce is made all the more palatable by the fact that the beans are roasted in York County and every purchase supports good York County jobs.

It's good for this community to have a corporate neighbor who's willing to lend some sugar and not just borrow.