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Starbucks to close six Los Angeles-area stores it calls ‘unsafe to continue operating’

Starbucks plans to close six stores in the Los Angeles area and 10 locations in other major cities due to what it says are safety concerns, including drug use and threatening behavior.

“After careful consideration, we are closing select stores in locations that have experienced a large number of difficult incidents that make it unsafe to continue operating, to open new locations with safer conditions,” Starbucks said in a statement to the Times.

Los Angeles area stores scheduled to close are at:

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

Employees at DoubleTree’s Hollywood and downtown hotel stores declined to speak to The Times. An employee at one of the other sites, who requested anonymity because staff had been instructed not to speak to reporters, said the closure was “quite heartbreaking news”.

“No matter where you go, you’re going to run into the same issues,” said the employee, who was “not particularly” worried about workplace safety but said some days can be chaotic.

The Associated Press and Wall Street Journal reported that in addition to stores in the Los Angeles area, six stores in hometown Seattle are set to close, along with two stores in Portland, Oregon, and one in Philadelphia and Washington. , CC

The six LA-area stores slated to close had not unionized, according to a statement from Starbucks Workers United, but two of the Seattle stores slated to close voted to unionize and one of the Portland locations demanded holding a union vote.

Starbucks officials, however, said the closures were unrelated to organizing efforts – calling the move “part of our business operations”.

“It’s really rooted in safe and welcoming stores,” a company official told The Associated Press.

But union leaders were skeptical.

“Every decision Starbucks makes must be viewed through the lens of the company’s unprecedented and vocal anti-union campaign,” Starbucks Workers United said in a statement. “It is simply not credible for the company to claim that this was not a response to the growing labor movement that is spreading across the country.”

Starbucks said employees may be transferred to other locations, the Associated Press reported.

The announcement of the closures came as company executives told employees they were taking steps to address concerns about safety at Starbucks stores.

“You see firsthand the challenges facing our communities – personal safety, racism, lack of access to health care, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use and more,” said Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson, Senior Vice Presidents of US Operations. in a letter to staff. “With stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know these challenges can sometimes occur in our stores as well. We read every incident report you file, that’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 shutting down restrooms and even entire venues. .

Regulars at some of the L.A.-area Starbucks stores slated for closure continued to pick up their lattes and cold brews on Wednesday, with many mulling new places to buy coffee — or ultimately committing to brewing at the home.

“Every time I hike I come here, so it kind of sucks that they shut it down,” Kimberly Torres told Hollywood and Western in Little Armenia after a visit to Griffith Park. She scoffed at the security concerns, but said some homeless people often hang around the intersection.

Mario Sanchez, a DoorDash driver, doubted the shutdowns would make any real difference.

“Anywhere downtown isn’t safe,” Sanchez said as he picked up a delivery slip from Starbucks at 2nd and San Pedro. “Anywhere, not just here.”

Times writer Salvador Hernandez contributed to this report.


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Post expires at 11:37pm on Thursday July 21st, 2022