Starbucks Is Closing 16 Stores in 5 States—Here’s Why
Starbucks cites health and safety reasons for the closures.
When it comes to everyday caffeine needs, no one meets them quite like Starbucks. With a stellar summer menu that includes the Chocolate Cream Cold Brew and Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher, it can be hard to resist a daily visit. Not only that, Starbucks has a 50% off deal running all month long for your iced coffee fix. And let’s not forget the plethora of possible Starbucks secret menu drinks.
But why is Starbucks closing stores right now? Here’s what you should know.
Which Stores Are Closing?
16 stores are slated to close by the end of July in five different states: Washington, California, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Oregon.
Each store holds anywhere from 14 to 25 employees depending on size and customer volume for that particular location. That’s a lot of employees to relocate! According to the company, all baristas are reportedly being moved to neighboring locations.
Why Is Starbucks Closing Stores?
A spokesperson told CNN, “We are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate.”
Denise Nelson and Debbie Stroud, senior vice presidents of U.S. operations for Starbucks, shared a letter on July 11 with details about the closures. They wrote that employees are “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.”
Starbucks plans on providing other locations with active shooter training, mental health benefits and access to essential healthcare.
However, some have speculated that the stores are being closed in response to the unionization push by Starbucks employees. A Reddit post shows a note left on the door by the employees of one Seattle store that’s slated to close, stating that the store is closing against the workers’ will two months after they won their union. It also alleges that the workers’ futures with Starbucks have been left uncertain. Starbucks Workers United filed a complaint alleging that the closures are retaliation for unionizing, but Starbucks has not responded to the complaints.