A popular Starbucks location in New Orleans will close next month due to safety concerns, just weeks after Starbucks’ top executive said crime will force stores across the country to close.
“Challenges to personal safety and security, racism, a growing mental health crisis, and issues magnified by COVID are challenges playing out within our stores,” Starbucks spokesman Sam Jefferies said of the closure in New Orleans, according to Fox 8.
The Canal Street Starbucks location has been in operation for nine years. It will officially close on Oct. 3.
Starbucks officials announced in July that 16 stores across the country were closing due to safety concerns.
Workers are “seeing firsthand the challenges facing our communities — personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use, and more,” senior vice presidents of U.S. operations for Starbucks said back in July.
Interim Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz warned that the initial closures were “just the beginning” and more permanent closures were anticipated.
“We are beginning to close stores,” because of safety issues, Schultz said in a video posted social media in July. “This is just the beginning. There are going to be many more.”
New Orleans became the murder capital of the country this month, at 52 homicides per 100,000 residents as of Sept. 11, according to data from the Metropolitan Crime Commission. New Orleans has eclipsed the number of homicides in other notoriously dangerous cities, such as St. Louis and Chicago.
All in, homicides in New Orleans are up 141% when compared to 2019 and up 78% when compared to 2021, according to the data.
Five other Starbucks locations in New Orleans’ downtown area will remain open, and other business owners along Canal Street say they have no plans to shutting down, Fox 8 reported.
“Yes, (Starbucks) have had a little bit of a problem. We don’t have anything. Business is better than ever. I think one closure shouldn’t symbolize this entire street, and that’s my concern,” David Rubenstein, owner of Canal Street clothing store Rubenstein’s, told Fox 8. “I mean you can just see the people. Everything is not perfect, but the world has changed. Yes, we are concerned, but we are very happy at this spot. We’re not leaving.”
He added that his biggest concern for the area is homeless people drinking and sleeping along Canal Street.
“It’s not what people like to see,” Rubenstein said.
Another business leader in the area, jewelry store owner Tiffany Adler, lamented how she has seen criminal activity in the area but that her store has not been affected.
“Security is always a concern in the metropolitan area. I believe that other metropolitan cities all over the country are having similar issues. We are trying to do the best for our merchants, our customers, and everybody should do their part to sort of self-police,” Adler said.
Starbucks did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the matter Sunday morning.