Starbucks Canada and We Wai Kai Nation celebrate new licensed store opening


Starbucks Canada and We Wai Kai Nation are proud to announce the opening of a new Starbucks café and drive-thru store, the first to be licensed and operated by the Nation.

Situated on the We Wai Kai reserve at the Quinsam Crossing development at 101-125 Brant Drive in Campbell River, B.C., this 1,700 square ft. store will serve as a local point for more than We Wai Kai’s 1,200 nation members and surrounding communities to gather and connect over a range of Starbucks® favourites, including handcrafted beverages, seasonal innovation, bakery and food items. Customers visiting this store will have a sense of familiarity through the welcoming atmosphere of Starbucks cafés, as well as convenience with both a drive-thru and Starbucks industry-leading Mobile Order & Pay feature.

With a focus on hiring local members of the community, the store has created new job opportunities, employing over 20 green apron baristas so far. Driven by a shared passion for contributing positively to our communities, the store plans to make a positive impact on the Campbell River community by identifying local food banks to support.

“The nation’s leadership fully understands that achieving true reconciliation will not be possible without vibrant Indigenous economies, characterized by economic self-sufficiency and socio-economic equality with the rest of Canada. Our new licensed Starbucks store helps us further move towards economic self-sufficiency as we continue to build our own-source revenues,” said Ronnie Chickite, We Wai Kai Nation Chief Councillor.

“We are proud to open this store to bring the Starbucks Experience to even more customers with the We Wai Kai Nation as its licensee to help serve the unique needs and priorities of this community,” said Shannon Leisz, Vice President, Store Development, Starbucks Canada. “This moment not only represents our continuous commitment to strengthen our understanding and relationships with Indigenous communities, but also demonstrates our desire to mutually thrive together.”

As part of Starbucks Canada’s ongoing Reconciliation journey and continued effort to advance equity, diversity and inclusion, this store is part of the company’s approach to building respectful, meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities.

In recent years, this journey has taken many forms, including  establishing the Canada Indigenous Partner Network; becoming a committed organization in the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business’ Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program; participating in the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando) National Conference to first listen and learn side by side with Indigenous communities and sponsoring the conference's National Youth Panel in 2023; working with Indigenous consultant, Tanya Tourangeau, to help advise and guide Starbucks in Indigenous relations; and  supporting various Indigenous-led organizations and charities in collaboration with The Starbucks Foundation. Last month, Starbucks also opened its first licensed store on ATR land (addition to reserve) with Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.

Locally Inspired Design

Rooted in the company’s Mission centered on human connection, Starbucks is committed to creating inclusive spaces, fostering belonging, and cultivating a culture where everyone is welcome.  

Starbucks designs its stores to create a warm and welcoming space, reflecting the diverse communities it serves. The new Quinsam Crossing store design pays homage to the culture and origins of the We Wai Kai Nation, incorporating local materials, rich textures and curated art. From cedar cladding that evokes the towering trees framing the landscape, to the rich leather and woven fixtures inspired by local craftwork, each element has been carefully chosen to foster a sense of a warmth and harmony deeply rooted in community traditions and the We Wai Kai’s connection to the land.

The store also features a beautiful, hand-painted mural by local artist, Jessica Chickite. Drawing from the Nation’s creation story of the Great Flood, the mural honours and celebrates the Nation’s history and culture, creating a moment for customers to pause and reflect on the past, but also the future. Weaving together the iconic Starbucks siren with elements of Indigenous culture in vibrant colours, Chickite’s artwork intends to show how Starbucks and the We Wai Kai Nation come together as now one proud community.  

“The siren participates in this dramatic retelling of the We Wai Kai’s origins, swimming below two canoes – a reference to the canoes that first brought my ancestors to the We Wai Kai Nation. The mural celebrates our stories, symbols and traditions passed down over generations, even as it embraces new beginnings and possibilities,” said Chickite. For location and store hours, visit Starbucks.ca or the Starbucks app for more information.