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Starbucks
A flag flies over Starbucks offices in Seattle. (Via Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

Under an image of an American flag flying above his company’s corporate headquarters in Seattle, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz addressed partners in a post-election post on Tuesday, admitting that he, too, was stunned by Donald Trump’s presidential victory.

But the coffee giant’s stores, present in thousands of cities and towns across the United States — no matter the red or blue colors on an election map — must be a place of “inclusion and optimism,” Schultz wrote in the message titled “Onward Together.”

Howard Schultz
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

“Whether you are pleased or disappointed by the outcome, we each still have a choice,” Schultz said. “Today and every day, we have a choice in how we treat one another in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and of course in our stores.”

Last week, during Starbucks’ quarterly earnings call, Schultz admitted that his company, and indeed society as a whole, was navigating through a difficult time as the campaign season drew to a close. Without predicting an outcome, he expressed concern for the retail sector and said he hoped for a return to a “natural state of affairs in terms of consumer behavior” after the election.

“I would label this time as just a high degree of uncertainty that obviously is domestically driven but has affected the rest of the world,” Schultz said. “… I don’t think we’ve ever witnessed such concern about what could happen in the U.S. as a result of the election.”

Here is the full post from Schultz on Tuesday:

Dear Partners,

Last night, like so many of you, I watched the election returns with family and friends. And like so many of our fellow Americans — both Democrats and Republicans — I am stunned.

We cannot know what the precise impact will be on our country and the rest of the world. I am hopeful that we will overcome the vitriol and division of this unprecedented election season.

As Americans, we must honor the democratic process. We have a president-elect in Donald Trump, and it is our responsibility as citizens to give him the opportunity to govern well and bring our country together.

Whether you are pleased or disappointed by the outcome, we each still have a choice. Today and every day, we have a choice in how we treat one another in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and of course in our stores.

We can choose to answer the challenges of the day with kindness and compassion. We can choose to listen, to understand and to act with respect. We can choose to live by the values that reside in each of us, and honor our commitment to nurture the human spirit with love, and offer everyone in our stores and communities a place of inclusion and optimism.

Today, I trust you, and I trust all that is good in our country. Let’s take care of each other and the people in our lives. I believe we will each find the best version of ourselves to help our country move on in the direction we all deserve. Together is where our collective power lies, as partners, and as Americans.

I am so very proud to be your partner.

Onward,

Howard

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