Safety concerns reportedly prompted Starbucks to close more than 20 nationwide locations over the last few months — with the majority of closings occurring on the West Coast.
In July, vice presidents of U.S. operations Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson emphasized the importance of store safety in a letter to all American employees, conceding the real challenge had become "providing a safe and welcoming and kind environment."
The Stroud-Nelson letter continued: "You're ... seeing firsthand the challenges facing our communities — personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use, and more. With stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores too. We read every incident report you file — it's a lot."
The corporate VPs also noted that some of the Starbucks closures might be permanent, if safety surrounding the respective stores is "no longer possible."
According to Nexstar, a Starbucks spokesperson confirmed that 16 locations had already closed by the end of July — covering Los Angeles (six closures), Seattle (five), Portland (two), and one apiece for Everett, Washington, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
Earlier this month, safety concern-related closures also led to a Starbucks closure in New Orleans, according to Nexstar.
Among the scheduled closures in the coming weeks:
- A third store in Portland will reportedly close this week. According to a nearby business owner, homelessness, drugs, and violence have plagued that neighborhood in recent months, perhaps contributing to the Starbucks shutdown.
- A Starbucks in downtown Syracuse, N.Y., will be shutting down soon, due to safety concerns.
- One location in downtown Indianapolis will likely close before the end of the month. However, according to WXIN-TV, Commander Phil Burton with the Indianapolis Metro Police Department's Downtown District, that Starbucks never formally shared any safety concerns with police officials.
The Starbucks closures come on the heels of eight employees from a South Carolina store suing Starbucks Corp. this week, amid accusations of Starbucks engaging in criminal conduct after the same employees reportedly demanded raises from their manager.
As Newsmax chronicled on Monday, the Anderson, S.C.-based workers filed a lawsuit in South Carolina state court against the store's manager and the Starbucks company.
In their suit, the employees claim the manager urged police to charge them with assault and kidnapping after the workers pressed her for a raise in August.
Back in June, the Anderson store's employees reportedly voted 18-0 to unionize.
Newsmax also reported on how at least 240 other Starbucks in the U.S. have unionized over the past year.
Starbucks has been accused of illegal labor practices at dozens of locations, according to reports.
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