Former Rochelle resident celebrates 29 years with Starbucks

When Elise Rexroat started working at Starbucks Store 319 in Edmonds, Washington as a barista in 1992, the company had about 100 stores. On Sept. 2, she celebrated her 29th anniversary as a Starbucks employee. Her job title is now total pay operations analyst lead. Today, Starbucks operates over 33,000 stores globally and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

‘I’ve enjoyed every minute of it’

ROCHELLE — When Elise Rexroat started working at Starbucks Store 319 in Edmonds, Washington as a barista in 1992, the company had about 100 stores. 

On Thursday, she celebrated her 29th anniversary as a Starbucks employee. Her job title is now total pay operations analyst lead. Today Starbucks operates over 33,000 stores globally and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Rexroat, whose maiden name is Brass, was born and raised in Rochelle and graduated from Rochelle Township High School in 1986. 

"I'm so blessed and grateful,” Rexroat said, “It's humbling. I've seen a lot of change and growth in the company and I’m so happy to have been a part of it all. It's such a great company to work for." 

Rexroat is one of the top 100 tenured partners still with the company. Her current position involves supporting stock and payroll for employees, who are referred to as partners because they share in the financial success of the company through shares of Starbucks stock.

After living in Washington until 2015, she moved with her husband, Jeff, and son, Trevor, to Sycamore to be closer to family and has been working from home ever since. 

The “great” relationships built with partners she’s worked with over the years are among Rexroat’s fondest experiences with Starbucks.

“The passion we all share to support our partners is special,” Rexroat said. “It was a different world working at the support center based in Seattle from working at a retail location, but we all wear the green apron no matter where you are, you're still family. Leadership demonstrates such passion and drive in all that they do, which makes you want to have that same drive and passion for the company, our partners and the customer.”

Rexroat said she loved being a barista. Back then, beans were scooped from the bins and weighed to the pound packaged as a gift from Starbucks to the customer. She misses that aspect and the smell of coffee along with the hustle and bustle of serving coffee to customers.

“The times have definitely changed,” Rexroat said. “Back then in 1992, we only had three syrups, vanilla, almond and hazelnut. That was it. There were no Frappuccino drinks, no refresher drinks, no food items. It was great working in the store, and I wore the green apron with pride. And now, I'm behind the scenes making sure partners are taken care of as part of their total pay package.”

The recent news of a Starbucks location coming to Rochelle made Rexroat “very happy.” She doesn’t believe she had anything to do with it, but said she reached out to partners in the company a few years ago and said it was missing out on a great opportunity in the area. 

“It's great to see the growth of the company opening doors in a small town,” Rexroat said. “There's just as many people who want their drinks in Rochelle. They'll drive from Rochelle to DeKalb or to the nearest location to get their coffee or beverage of choice because they're so dedicated.”

Rexroat had experience working from home long before the pandemic that forced people in all types of business industries to adapt. Working at Starbucks has taught her patience and the importance of reading the fine print.

“I attribute it to my father and his great work ethic,” Rexroat said. “How both my parents raised me to be understanding and respectful. Pay attention, listen, learn as much as you can.”

Career progression, management and training are priorities at Starbucks that have helped others like Rexroat to grow and advance through the company. 

“I moved to Washington when I was 23,” Rexroat said. “I didn't have a job or anything. Not even a car. I just decided to go into Starbucks and work as a barista and take that chance. After that, I worked in technology and then back to the business side. I built many great relationships that have supported me along the way and I enjoyed every minute of it. It's been a lot of fun.

“It's working with good people and knowing that I have their back and they have mine. That makes a difference. I’m so excited for the Rochelle Starbucks opening and the job opportunities for the community. I look forward to seeing customers enjoy their favorite coffee beverage, food and tea in my ‘hometown’ finally.”

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