Six Starbucks locations in Los Angeles will be closing in the coming weeks due to what the company is calling a high frequency of “challenging incidents.”
A spokesperson for the coffee giant confirmed the closures and provided KTLA with a letter from Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson, senior vice presidents of Starbucks U.S. operations.
In the letter to employees, the senior executives said the company was prioritizing “creating a safe, welcoming, and kind third place.”
Starbucks’ Third Place policy dictates that its stores should be a “safe and welcoming public space” and employees, such as baristas, are encouraged and expected to address “disruptive behaviors.”
While not specifically addressing the closures of any specific stores in the letter to employees, it is heavily implied that complaints and incident reports at some locations have caused employees to feel unsafe or dissatisfied with working conditions.
“We read every incident report you file – it’s a lot,” the letter reads
The letter continues to say that Starbucks will evaluate modifying operations, closing bathrooms or closing stores altogether if stores cannot promise a safe environment for customers and employees.
In total, 16 stores in major cities will be closing, according to an article by the Wall Street Journal. In addition to Los Angeles, store closures are happening in Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Starbucks has confirmed that the local stores that will have their doors shuttered are located at:
- 1st and Los Angeles (Inside the Doubletree hotel)
- 2nd and San Pedro
- Hollywood and Vine
- Hollywood and Western
- Ocean Front Walk (Santa Monica Pier)
- Santa Monica and Westmount
A spokesperson for Starbucks said they were closing “high-incident stores” and said the company was “empowering local leaders, who have emphasized repeatedly that they care deeply about creating a safe and welcoming environment in the community.”
The company also confirmed that employees in the closing stores will have the opportunity to transfer to other locations.
The stores are expected to close by the end of the month.
The closures come amid a groundswell of support for unionization efforts at Starbucks locations across the nation, however, none of the planned closures appear to be happening at stores with significant unionization efforts.