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Starbucks employees donate all tips to local organizations

Monday, November 26, 2012

(Photo)
On behalf of the Humane Society of Putnam County, HSPC Board President Lynn Bohmer (center) accepts a check for $1,250, representing tips collected by Greencastle Starbucks employees during September and October. Making the presentation is new Starbucks manager Amy White (right) while Deb Gould, the original store manager who conceived the idea of donating tips to community organizations in need, looks on at the new downtown store.
Here's a tip for you: That next Caramel Macchiato, Pumpkin Spice Latte or Iced Peppermint Mocha you order just might help reopen the local animal shelter, put a hot meal on the table for someone less fortunate or help members of the community in some other noble way.

For thanks to employees and management at the Greencastle Starbucks, all tips generated at the new café will be donated to worthy local causes.

The idea to give back to the community is the brainchild of Deb Gould, who was the local manager through the pre-opening process and first two months of operation. Gould, a South Putnam graduate, left Starbucks recently to concentrate on operating her own business, Legendary Services Solutions, a firm that conducts workshops stressing customer service.

Giving back was the idea when DePauw University decided to move its bookstore downtown and was again part of the motivation in partnering with Starbucks to bring the Seattle-based business to the Putnam County Courthouse Square.

"The whole thing is about giving back to the community, so it makes so much sense that the tips go back to the community," Gould said after she and new Starbucks manager Amy White presented a check for $1,250 to the Humane Society of Putnam County.

The check given to HSPC President Lynn Bohmer represented the sum total of all employee tips received during September and October.

While traditionally the tips received at Starbucks are divided up weekly among workers, the 17 staff members at the Greencastle store (including four DePauw students) are in full support of the idea of donating them to aid local organizations like the Putnam County Emergency Food Pantry, which will benefit from the tip jar through November and December.

"Part of what we wanted to do with it is be representative of everybody, everyone who comes in our store," Gould explained.

"And it's a sign of character," she added, "that not one single one of our employees said, 'Oh, so we're not going to get to keep our tips?' The team has embraced the whole idea."

New manager White agreed.

"DePauw wants it to be about community," she said of the coffee business, adding that Starbucks was envisioned as a "bridge" between town and gown in Greencastle.

The goal was to be a presence in the downtown community, and in fact, the mission statement at Starbucks even stresses "our neighborhood," Gould pointed out.

"It's not just about another business," she said, "but a business that wants to give back to the community."

Gould has 3-1/2 years of experience with Starbucks. She and White ran the Plainfield store out in front of Target, which ended the fiscal year as the No. 1 Indiana site among 104 Starbucks.

Meanwhile, the tips donation admittedly caught Bohmer and the Humane Society by surprise.

"Somebody came out to our store (Rescued Treasures in the old Brackney's building)," Bohmer recalled, "and said 'Here's a check for your reopening fund.'"

When Bohmer saw it was for $1,250, she investigated further and discovered the tips and community tie-in.

"This money isn't going for naught," Bohmer said. "It (the reopening) is going to happen."

And that will be "definitely sometime in 2013," she said, noting that a big sign, proclaiming "Reopening 2013," will soon be going up in front of the shelter on State Road 240.

Because of the generosity of donors like the Starbucks employees and the success of the HSPC store, the Humane Society has accomplished its reopening goals and is awaiting final negotiations with the county and the communities it serves.

Bohmer said the county commissioners have approved an Animal Control Board with appointments to be coming from the county, city and towns to be served, as well as the HSPC.

That board would in turn work out the details of the reopening and continuing operation of the animal shelter.

"With our being closed for a year," Bohmer said, "everybody, including our local governments, has seen the need, so we're all working as quickly as possible."

Gould admits that Starbucks has been quiet until now about the first two organizations it decided to help. However, the tip donation effort shapes up as a way for people to donate when they don't otherwise know who to give the money to or where to send a check.

"This makes it easy," Gould said, adding that local organizations that would like to be the recipient of future tips should contact Amy White at Starbucks for consideration.


Comments
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Good for them, just one more reason to love the people in this town...

-- Posted by localmom44 on Mon, Nov 26, 2012, at 1:24 PM

Yeah but they basically don't get a lot of tips...

-- Posted by Apollo13 on Mon, Nov 26, 2012, at 6:45 PM

We were told that Follett Corporations (who writes our paychecks) would not allow us to have tips because it would not be fair to the bookstore employees. As a Starbuck employee I did not have a choice about the tips. To say that we were in full support of this decision is inaccurate as we were never given a choice on the matter. The donation jar next to the registers is marked for what the money is going for and customers are not fooled into thinking they are tipping us. I would like to receive tips, since minimum wage is the pay rate and we do work hard. Great that we can set out a donation jar and give to the community, but let's be honest here.

-- Posted by thatslife on Wed, Nov 28, 2012, at 2:51 PM

I love the renovations on that corner. Downtown is looking pretty good these days!

-- Posted by confusedami on Wed, Nov 28, 2012, at 3:09 PM

I was in Starbuck's recently, complimented one of the workers on these donations, and mentioned that if I was working a job like that I would not have offered to donate my tips. "It's not like we had a choice," was the reply. The charities are worthy causes, to be sure. That a DePauw vendor is coercing low-paid employees into this is the actual NEWS STORY. If the Banner-Graphic wanted to take a break from its usual role as DePauw PR lackeys and do actual journalism for a change, this would be a good place to start. Meanwhile, I'd like to be able to tip the great people doing the actual work at Starbuck's.

-- Posted by dpuskeptic on Mon, Dec 3, 2012, at 12:46 AM

Don't like your job or the pay? Get another job.

-- Posted by Emmes on Wed, Dec 5, 2012, at 11:19 AM


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