Excerpts from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s warning that governments’ “abdication” of dealing with crime and mental illness means the company is closing 16 profitable stores in the Democratic-run cities of Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland and DC.
I don’t want to spend too much time on what’s going on in the country, and how America has become unsafe. But you’ve all read the press release about how we’re beginning to close stores — that are not unprofitable. But we’re closing stores as a result of [meetings with store managers and retail partners].
In all of those sessions, it has shocked me that one of the primary concerns that our retail partners have is their own personal safety. And then we heard the stories that go along with it about what happens in our bathrooms. The issue of mental illness. The issues of homelessness. And the issues of crime.
And Starbucks is a window into America. We have stores in every community, and we are facing things in which the stores were not built for. And so we’re listening to our people, and closing stores — and this is just the beginning, there are going to be many more.
And I must say, in my view, at the local, state and federal level, these governments — across the country — and leaders, mayors and governors and city councils, have abdicated their responsibility in fighting crime and addressing mental illness. We’re going to have to refine and transform and modernize many of the things we do to meet the needs of our customers in a very changing operating environment in which customer behavior is changing.