October 7, 2016
Thank you, Michael! Your Excellency Pan Sorasak, Mr. Mark Ring, distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen. As an avid and lifelong fan of Starbuck’s French Roast coffee, I have been eagerly anticipating this opening for a long time. I remember clearly the day we heard Starbucks was coming to Cambodia. The entire U.S. Embassy was abuzz with excitement about being able to get a taste of Starbucks coffee right here in Phnom Penh. We’ve already witnessed the success of the Starbucks outlets at the airport and at Aeon Mall, and I’m sure this beautiful flagship store will soon be the new hotspot in Phnom Penh. Congratulations to Starbucks and the Maxim’s Group for making the dream of this long awaited shop into a reality.
This store is more than just a place for coffee and conversation. This opening also represents the incredible economic progress Cambodia has made. American companies have noticed the efforts of the Cambodian government and the private sector to support Cambodia’s economy and help the country establish itself as a strong competitor in the region. We’ve seen in recent years other U.S. brands arriving in Cambodia, and it’s great to see the Starbucks brand joining them in his dynamic market. Thanks to the efforts of Minister Sorasak and others, word is out that Cambodia is open for business and investment.
Starbucks also represents an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of community we want to support in Cambodia. As Mr. Ring said, Starbucks supports CSR projects and local capacity of its staff who proudly wear their green aprons and greet customers. Howard Schultz grew up in public housing and was the first in his family to go to college. In the early 1980s, Schultz visited Milan and dreamed of bringing the coffee shop concept to Seattle.
I would love to see young Cambodians aim high just like Howard Schultz. He once said, “If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to dream big and then dream bigger.” So this beautiful building is not just about walls and chairs and coffee with free wifi – it’s where dreamers young and old will come up with new ideas and develop business plans, to innovate and be creative and do great things for Cambodia. I’m proud to see Starbucks represent the growing partnership between the United States and Cambodia.
Congratulations and good luck!