Starbucks is closing 16 stores over employee safety concerns

Starbucks Corp. announced Monday that it was closing 16 U.S. stores after workers reported incidents related to drug use and other disruptions at cafes.

Starbucks SBUX,
said it will permanently close six stores each in the Seattle and Los Angeles areas, two in Portland, Oregon, and individual locations in Philadelphia and Washington, DC by the end of the month.

The company said it had received reports from workers of incidents they said involved drug use by some customers and, in some cases, members of the public in certain locations. Starbucks said it will move employees to other locations if it closes stores permanently.

“We read every incident report you file — that’s a lot,” Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson, chiefs of US operations, wrote in a message to US officials Monday. “We cannot serve as a partner if we don’t first feel safe at work,” they said, referring to the company’s notion of employees.

Starbucks also said there would be store managers Scope to close toilets, Limit seating or reduce operations in response to safety concerns. The moves are part of a policy aimed at addressing workers’ concerns, including their safety in the workplace, the company said.

An expanded version of this report appears on

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A $100,000 dress maybe for the end of the world? Starbucks is closing 16 stores over employee safety concerns

Brian Lowry

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