Starbucks says it is closing one of its New Orleans cafes due to racism – but did not provide further explanation of why.
The cafe at 700 Canal St. will close its doors indefinitely on Oct. 3 amid a series of issues that have turned the location into a “high incident store.”
‘Our stores are windows to America, and every day our partners witness the challenges facing our communities – challenges to personal safety and security, racism, a growing mental health crisis and issues amplified by COVID’ , a Starbucks spokesperson said in a July letter obtained by 4WWL news.
“These challenges play out in our stores – affecting our partners, our communities and our customers.”
Several incidents were reported at the Canal Street location, but details, including the circumstances surrounding the specific “racism” allegation, were not disclosed.
It is also unclear whether staff or patrons of the cafe were targeted during the racist incidents.
A Starbucks customer said he believes the company is prioritizing the safety of its employees with the recent ruling.
“I think safety is everyone’s concern,” one customer told Fox 8. “If they make that decision, I’m sure it’s based on the safety of their customers, as well as their employees.”
A Louisiana Starbucks is set to close a popular cafe over racism and mental health concerns amid the homeless-ridden metropolitan street. The café located at 700 Canal Street will close its doors indefinitely on October 3
Tiffany Adlers, owner of a jewelry store on Canal Street, acknowledged there had been an increase in crime but said her store had not been affected
Pictured: current CEO Howard Schultz (left) handing over to new CEO Laxman Narasimhan (right). Narasimhan will take over in 2023
Tiffany Adlers, owner of a jewelery store on Canal Street, said there had been an increase in crime in the area – but did not encounter the problem at her store.
“Security is always a concern in the metropolitan area,” Adlers said. “I believe other metropolitan cities in the county have similar issues.
“We try to do our best for our merchants, our customers and everyone should do their part to self-police.”
David Rubenstein, owner of a clothing store, said the number of homeless people on the streets who drink or sleep is the number one problem on the metropolitan street.
“It’s not what people like to see,” he told Fox 8.
Meanwhile, Rubenstein said his business was doing great and “better than ever.”
‘Yes, [Starbucks] had a little problem,” he said. “I think a closure shouldn’t symbolize this whole street, and that’s my concern.
Rubenstein added that nothing is perfect and his company is happy with the location.
“We’re not leaving,” he said.
The New Orleans Downtown Development District told Fox 8 that Canal Street was a busy area with heavy foot traffic. The organization devotes more than half of its budget to public safety.
“We are acutely aware that public safety is a primary concern for our stakeholders,” the company said while noting its disappointment with Starbucks’ closure.
Meanwhile, other cafes remain open and thriving with business in the area.
Starbucks sparked furor in 2018 after staffers at one of its Philadelphia stores called police about two black men waiting to use its bathroom.
The pair were later arrested and later released without charge amid a national outcry, which saw Starbucks shut down its cafes for an afternoon to train employees on unconscious bias.
Meanwhile, the chain’s founders are busy transforming its hugely popular cafes with new gadgets, including Frappuccino machines and cold presses designed to create drinks faster and make life easier for its workers.
Starbucks is also pushing back against workers’ efforts to unionize stores, although 200 have so far challenged bosses to form unions.