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Starbucks opens first store operated entirely by senior citizens

It's just in time for Pumpkin Spice Latte season.
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/ Source: TODAY

It's not just lower-sugar Frappucinos that Starbucks is introducing this fall.

Just in time for Pumpkin Spice Latte season, the coffee giant has a new location that will be run entirely by employees who are 55 and over.

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The new coffee shop is part of the company's push to provide more job opportunities for seniors, Mexican news agency Notimex reported on Aug 28.

Located in the Colonia del Valle neighborhood in Mexico City, the store has seven employees who are between 55 and 60 years old. It's currently also staffed with younger employees who are training their older counterparts to eventually run the location themselves.

There are currently about 65 seniors among the 7,000 "partners" who work at Starbucks in Mexico, and the company hopes to increase that segment of the workforce to 120 by the end of the year, the CEO of Starbucks Mexico told Notimex.

"It took us two years to land the best scheme to contribute to the elderly community in Mexico, opening the doors of our stores to senior baristas was not a goal, it was an act of congruence with the inclusion philosophy of Starbucks,” CEO Christian Gurría said.

Starbucks has also made some alterations to help accommodate the older staff. Their work shifts are limited to 6.5 hours per day and they receive at least two days off a week. Also, Starbucks is looking to employ them in locations that are only one floor and have lowered shelves. The seniors also receive medical insurance like all employees.

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The hope is to also foster some rapport between the younger-skewing Starbucks customers and employees and the older generation.

"They treat us with a lot of respect and courtesy,'' senior staff member Sergio Arrioja told Reuters about the younger employees. "I think we've formed a very interesting bond, and at the end of the day, it's a productive job for everyone."

"It's becoming more difficult to employee people over 40, but the need to keep elderly people in work exists,'' Gurria said. "If the opportunity is there, I'm happy to help."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.