While people in the Houston area are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, an important part of the recovery has turned out to be Starbucks.
CNN reports that nearly half of the 150 Starbucks in the area were open on Wednesday. All open stores had power and water, a welcome refuge for people still without electricity at their own homes.
Some Starbucks also have working Wi-Fi, an enticement to people who want or need to connect to the Internet.
Starbucks stores have also turned out to be places where people can get together to share information and comfort each other. Usual gathering spots such as most businesses and schools are closed for the week.
According to CNN, the open Starbucks stores are actually overstaffed, since workers from the stores still closed have been reassigned to the open ones. But Starbucks employees, like their customers, are also eager to connect with others, so most of the staff has been eager to get back to work.