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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Starbucks to close six Los Angeles stores, citing safety problems

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Starbucks plans to close six stores in Los Angeles and 10 other locations in other major cities because of what it says are safety issues including drug use and threatening behavior.

The Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal reported that, in addition to the Los Angeles store closures, six stores in the company’s hometown of Seattle are slated to close along with two stores in Portland, Ore., and one each in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“After careful consideration, we are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate, to open new locations with safer conditions,” Starbucks said in a statement to the Times.

The Los Angeles stores slated for closure are located at:

  • Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard and Westmount Drive.
  • 1st and Los Angeles streets (inside the DoubleTree hotel).
  • Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue.
  • Ocean Front Walk and Moss Avenue.
  • 2nd and San Pedro streets.

An employee at the Hollywood location declined to speak with The Times.

Two of the Seattle stores have voted to unionize and one of the Portland locations petitioned to hold a union vote, the Associated Press reported.

Starbucks officials have said that the closures were not related to unionization efforts.

“Opening and closing stores is part of our business operations. This is really rooted in safe and welcoming stores,” a company official told the Associated Press.

Starbucks said employees will be able to transfer to other locations, the Associated Press reported.

The announcement of the closures comes as company higher-ups addressed employee safety issues within its stores.

“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,” senior vice presidents of U.S. operations Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson said in a letter to staff members. “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.”

Stroud and Nelson said the company would implement a long list of measures, including training in de-escalation, active-shooter situations, mental health and first aid, and closing restrooms and even entire locations.


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