(NEXSTAR) – Starbucks has closed roughly two dozen locations across the country – but primarily on the West Coast – since this summer, saying safety concerns have made “providing a safe, welcoming and friendly environment” a challenge.
In July, vice presidents of US operations are Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson wrote in a letter employees who emphasize the importance of trade safety.
“You … see firsthand the challenges facing our communities – personal safety, racism, lack of access to health care, the growing mental health crisis, increasing drug use and more. With stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know that these challenges can sometimes arise in our stores as well. We read every incident report you file – it’s a lot,” they wrote.
Stroud and Nelson noted that in the future, stores could be permanently closed if it is determined that safety is “no longer possible.”
A Starbucks spokesperson later confirmed this to Nexstar 16 locations would close through the end of July, including six in Los Angeles, five in Seattle, two in Portland and one each in Philadelphia; District of Columbia; and Everett, Washington.
Since then, additional Starbucks stores have closed across the country, all due to safety concerns.
A third location in Portland is closing Thursday. A nearby business owner told Nexstar’s COIN that homelessness, drugs and violence have recently affected the neighborhood.
In early October, Starbucks closed its Canal Street location in New Orleansagain citing security concerns and the rising level of threats reported by employees.
A company spokesperson told Nexstar’s WSYR on Wednesday that Starbucks will soon close its downtown Syracuse store due to unspecified safety concerns.
Employees at the Kansas City location were told in August that their store was closing due to safety concerns, according to Nexstar’s WDAF. Some thought it was recent efforts to unionizewho failed, is also guilty.
The downtown Indianapolis location is slated to close before the end of the month. Commander Phil Burton of the Indianapolis Police Department’s Downtown District told Nexstar’s WXIN that Starbucks never had any security concerns with the authorities.
Union leaders in Colorado Springs told Nexstar’s CREXUS they requested a negotiation meeting with Starbucks for October 24th, only for the company to announce that it would instead be closing the location on October 23rd due to health and safety concerns. The shift supervisor said they had previously asked for security measures to be put in place, but had never received any support.
Other closures include locations in the Spokane and Chicago (which was also about to begin negotiating its first union contract), a local news paper reports), meaning at least 24 Starbucks stores have closed or will close due to “security concerns” before the end of the year.
Nexstar has repeatedly reached out to Starbucks for additional information regarding the closed stores, as well as the policy that Stroud and Nelson said would be enacted in their July letter.
Those policies included de-escalation training, active shooter preparation, mental health first aid training, adapting stores and designing them for safety, and providing clear policies and procedures.