A reader inquired about the May 28 departure of the Starbucks outlet from Baptist Medical Center. Baptist spokesman Mark Lowman explained:
In renewing the Starbucks franchise licensing contract we were asked to make upgrades in the design of the coffee shop location which we felt was not necessary, too costly and not a viable business decision. Our response to the terms of the new contract was not accepted by Starbucks and therefore, Starbucks decided to end the relationship after 10 years and move off our campus. Our new Coffee Corner in the same location features Westrock Coffee, a company based in North Little Rock that was founded by Scott Ford, the former CEO of Alltel. Westrock Coffee supports Rwandan coffee farmers and has made an impact on Rwanda’s economy by creating a crop-to-cup business model that provides training to farmers and a nurturing of the coffee industry in that country.