Starbucks to build roasting plant in South Carolina

by Josh Sosland
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SEATTLE — Starbucks Coffee Co. has settled on St. Matthews, S.C., as the planned site for the company’s newest roasting plant.

Construction on the 150,000 square foot facility is planned to begin by the end of 2007 with operations set to commence in early 2009. When operating at full capacity, the plant will employ about 160 full-time persons.

"This new facility will help us meet increasing demand for our premium coffees and allows us to support our growth in the Southeast," said Peter Gibbons, senior vice-president, manufacturing.

Starbucks said factors contributing to the decision to locate in St. Matthews, about 15 miles from Columbia, S.C., included workforce availability, transportation access, quality of life and strong support from local and state leaders.

The facility will house equipment and operations to receive, roast, package and ship Starbucks coffee to distribution centers servicing Starbucks stores and wholesale accounts around the Southeast.

The plant will be the fourth for Starbucks in the United States. Existing Starbucks roasting facilities are operated in Kent Wash.; York, Pa.; and Carson Valley, Nev. Starbucks also has a plant in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Starbucks as of the first quarter of 2007 operated 50 retail locations in South Carolina alone and 2,200 stores in the Southeast.

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