SEATTLE — Safety concerns are prompting Starbucks to close sixteen of its stores nationwide, including six in western Washington.
The company says drug use, theft and assault are the primary problems facing the locations which are closing.
Five of the stores are in Seattle:
- Central District - 2300 South Jackson Street
- Capitol Hill - 1600 East Olive Way
- Roosevelt - 6417 Roosevelt Way NE
- Westlake Center - 400 Pine Street
- Union Station - 505 5th Ave South
The Starbucks on Evergreen Way in Everett is also among the sixteen stores set to close across the country.
The closures are the latest shake-up from Howard Schultz since he returned to the company as interim CEO in April.
“Today, we find ourselves in a position where we must modernize and transform the Starbucks experience in our stores and recreate an environment that is relevant, welcoming and safe, and where we uplift one another with dignity, respect and kindness,” said Schultz in a message to Starbucks workers on Monday.
Starbucks says workers will be able to move to nearby locations.
Individual store managers will also be allowed to decide whether to close or limit public access to bathrooms.
On Tuesday, KIRO 7′s Briseida Holguin spoke to customers outside the Pine and Olive Way location about the store’s upcoming closure.
“I would say this stop in Seattle is not the best part of town, but we were just talking inside and I think the timing – I mean, this location unionized about a month ago,” said Amir Brown. “To me, it seems very suspicious.”
Two of the five stores closing in Seattle, the Olive Way and 5th Street locations, are unionized.
Starbucks says employees who relocate to the other stores will continue to receive union representation if their new store is also unionized.
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