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Starbucks dedicates Tucson’s first military family store
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Starbucks dedicates Tucson’s first military family store

In between menu items touting latte macchiatos and spicy sandwiches, a sign hanging in a local Starbucks tells customers that the store is now part of the Davis-Monthan community.

Starbucks dedicated Tucson’s first “military family store” to the Air Force base during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the store on the corner of Campbell and Broadway. The store, one of 20 such Starbucks across the country, focuses on hiring veterans and military spouses.

In 2013, Starbucks made a commitment to hire 10,000 veterans by 2018. So far, the company said it is more than half way there, having hired 5,500 veterans.

Starbucks also sends “tons of coffee” to military service members overseas and runs support programs for them, said Tom Tice, the company’s military talent acquisition manager.

Starbucks employee Tara Santos’ husband was in the Marine Corps for four years, and the company has helped her keep her job through the process.

“I’ve been moving from different states with my husband as he transitioned out of the military and I’ve been able to transfer my job with Starbucks and move,” she said.

The stores are a “great opportunity to bring together the friends and family of military veterans,” Santos said, noting veterans and their loved ones need places outside of the military community or base where they feel welcomed.

The store features artwork inspired by the Air Force, such as a flying bald eagle. The veterans and military spouses who work at the store wear aprons emblazoned with a U.S. flag.

“They’re very understanding of what goes along with a military commitment,” said Aaron Johnsen, a barista at the store and an Army reservist.

Johnsen frequently has to leave for training as part of his duties with the 335th Signal Command, a cyber warfare unit based in Phoenix, he said.

Starbucks often pays him during his training periods and doesn’t dock him when he has to leave on short notice, he said.

Danny Guevara served in the Army for five years and has been a manager of the store for six months.

“I came to Starbucks to pursue something outside of (the military), to go to school, and I fell in love with it,” Guevara said.

Contact reporter Curt Prendergast at 573-4224 or cprendergast@tucson.co

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. On Twitter: @CurtTucsonStar

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