LeBron James opens unique Starbucks inside his hometown community center
LeBron James is selling coffee for a cause.
The Los Angeles Lakers star opened a Starbucks in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, this week. The coffee shop is the first of its kind because it's part of a community center and employs students and their families from James' I Promise school. Besides selling coffee, the store seeks to teach business and leadership skills and will award employees job-training certificates in addition to their hourly wages.
The Starbucks is inside House Three Thirty, a community center sponsored by the LeBron James Family Foundation that includes a branch of Chase bank and an event space that can be rented out. There are future plans for a sports bar and taco shop, a wine room, social room and a LeBron museum with a replica of the apartment he lived in before he headed to the NBA, according to the foundation.
The building's official opening was celebrated Thursday — 3/30 — to honor Akron's area code. It is walking distance from the school and seeks to be a safe space for students once they're done with classes for the day.
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James' mother, Gloria, visited House Three Thirty on its opening day.
"I'm really proud of this venture, especially because it opens the doors to so many opportunities for our community," she told the Akron Beacon Journal. "Then a huge ball area where lifelong memories can be made like weddings and receptions and birthday parties, bar mitzvahs and all that goes with that."
Get ready to start your mornings off at 532 W. Market St. with our first-of-its-kind licensed @Starbucks Community Store where we're serving coffee and the community in a whole new way! Enjoy our art, music, patio, and secrets behind our walls. ☕️😉 pic.twitter.com/jHEzf7P8Zk
— LeBron James Family Foundation (@LJFamFoundation) March 30, 2023
James, who became the NBA's all-time leading scorer earlier this season, wasn't in attendance for the opening, but reposted tweets from the foundation.
“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 told The Athletic. “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.”
James returned to the Lakers on Sunday after sitting out 13 games with a foot injury. Los Angeles is competing for a trip to the playoffs after missing the postseason last year.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LeBron James opens Starbucks community center in hometown of Akron