In videos of an alleged internal company meeting obtained by The Post Millennial editor Ari Hoffman, Schultz argued that “America has become unsafe” and noted that the stores facing closures are nevertheless “not unprofitable.”
“It has shocked me that one of the primary concerns that our retail partners have is their own personal safety,” Schultz said of conversations with employees. “And then we heard the stories that go along with it about what happens in our bathrooms, the issue of mental illness, the issue of homelessness, and the issue of crime.”
EXCLUSIVE: Today at an internal meeting CEO Howard Schultz said: “Starbucks is a window into America… we are facing things in which the stores were not built for… we’re listening to our people and closing stores, & this is just the beginning. There are gonna be many more. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/E9ayQqSmB8
— Ari Hoffman (@thehoffather) July 13, 2022
The cities of Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., have witnessed surging crime over the past two years. As of last month, Los Angeles and Washington were on pace to surpass their homicide totals seen in 2021, according to crime data reviewed by Fox News.
Schultz, who also led the company from 1986 to 2000 and from 2008 to 2017, said that “there are going to be many more” closures. “Starbucks is a window into America,” he added. “We have stores in every community, and we are facing things … the stores were not built for. We are listening to our people and closing stores.”
The executive pinned the blame on political leaders who have failed to address issues contributing to urban decay.
“At the local, state, and federal level, these governments across the country, and leaders — mayors and governors, city councils — have abdicated their responsibility in fighting crime and addressing mental illness,” Schultz said, noting that his company is otherwise thriving. “Despite the challenges of COVID and post-COVID, and the changes in customer behavior… the demand for Starbucks coffee by our customers, domestically and around the world, has never been greater.”
Starbucks said on Monday that it would create new trainings for de-escalation and active shootings, adding that among the policies they may pursue are “modifying operations, closing a restroom, or even closing a store permanently” if safety is a persistent issue, then transferring employees to other nearby stores.
Many district attorneys have eliminated cash bail or neglected to prosecute shoplifters — actions which garner backlash for allowing criminals to continue dangerous behavior without consequences. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, for instance, faces a recall after more than 715,000 citizens signed a petition to begin the process, according to the Los Angeles Times. The signatures still need to be verified by county officials before the recall can qualify for ballot placement.
Starbucks’ move to close urban stores comes as over 180 locations seek to unionize. Starbucks Workers United — a unionization effort led by Starbucks employees — says they are attempting to “form a collaborative, creative, forward-thinking, justice seeking, independent organization that will allow us to advocate for ourselves.”