Wake Up Call

Buried in the torrent of media coverage of Hurricane Ike, which tore a $10 billion trench of destruction through Texas on Sept. 13, was the following tidbit:

In the days after the Category 2 storm made landfall near Galveston, some 150 Starbucks stores in the Houston area reopened, providing a refuge for area residents to commiserate over cappuccinos and send e-mails to loved ones courtesy of the chain’s complimentary Wi-Fi. Press reports hailed Starbucks as a community leader and praised its employees for helping local resident get back on their feet.

“They’re opening up to each other: ‘Do you have water’ Are you OK? How’s your family?'” said one manager in a CNN.com piece, describing the camaraderie he saw in his store. Blogs and other mainstream news outlets were quick to pick up the item.

It was a welcome bit of good news in an otherwise difficult year for Starbucks