(NewsNation) — Starbucks announced Friday its closing its world-famous Canal Street location in New Orleans on Oct. 3, citing safety concerns and a rising level of threat felt by some employees.
“Challenges to personal safety and security, racism, a growing mental health crisis, and issues magnified by COVID are challenges playing out within our stores,” Sam Jefferies, a Starbucks spokesperson, said to local news channel Fox 8.
“Our stores are windows into 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 magnified by COVID. These challenges play out within our stores, affecting our partners, our communities, and our customers alike,” Starbucks media relations said, addressing the closure in a letter obtained by 4WWL news.
In New Orleans, that window is not looking bright.
The city just became the murder capital of the country, with murder rates up 141% since 2019 — nearly four times that of Chicago. To make matters worse, staffing for the New Orleans police force fell below 1,000 for the first time in modern history — a benchmark business owners on Canal Street notice.
“You had cops on every corner and that slowly went away. I can see it’s getting worse and worse. Nobody wants to come down here and I can see it. My numbers prove it,” Mike Serio of Mike Serio’s Poboys‘ said.
But as violent crime spikes across the country, a leaked video of Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz from July shows the closures may not be done.
“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, and this is just the beginning. There are gonna be many more,” he said in the video.
It’s the same reason Starbucks closed 16 stores around the country this summer.
All employees who work at locations that closed have been promised new jobs at other Starbucks locations.