Five Starbucks locations in Seattle are set to close this month. The company says, due to a recent increase in crime, the locations are no longer safe for employees.
At the Starbucks on 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street in the Central District, Makini Howell tried grabbing a drink and some water for her dog, Copper.
But the door was locked and employees inside were packing up the cafe.
“Where else am I gonna go?” Howell asked, looking up and down the street.
Howell was surprised when she heard that this Starbucks was closing because the company says the location has become too unsafe for employees.
As first reported by The Seattle Times, the company announced five Seattle closures for this month citing safety concerns.
Howell says she enjoys walking Copper here almost daily. This café, she said, has positive energy.
“It just feels good,” Howell said outside the locked store. “There’s usually like, they have stuff for kids sometimes, it’s just a lot of people, it’s usually the older Ethiopian guys enjoying coffee — and just it’s a cool coffee shop.”
Another location set to close is the Starbucks on Olive Way in Capitol Hill.
Blake Crawford runs the Hillcrest Market across the street from that Starbucks. Crawford said he’s not surprised by the news of the closures and his staff has grown used to attempted robberies and attacks.
“We have pepper spray and tasers and cattle prods, whatever it takes,” Crawford said, “and our camera system is not always enough to see what’s going on or keep an eye on things. And just what’s become normal in this neighborhood isn’t what should be normal for a neighborhood.”
Crawford said when he calls the police, he often has to wait hours for them to show up.
“It’s at the point that we don’t even call them anymore, it’s just at that level. If we call the fire department they’re here in 5-10 minutes for an issue and for people that OD, but the police is just non responsive anymore,” he said. “So we’ve given up on calling them for theft, we’ve given up on calling up for issues, we’ve given up calling them for break ins.”
Two baristas who were packing up the Central District café said they had been crying all day and this was the worst breakup they’d ever been through.
The other Starbucks set to close include cafes in the Roosevelt neighborhood and near Westlake Park downtown. Their last day is July 31.
Article Source: KUOW