Readers Respond to the Closure of Two Starbucks Coffee Shops in Portland

Our news editor can’t tell the difference between Fred Meyer and Safeway.

Last week, three WW correspondents reported what they observed at two Starbucks coffee shops selected for closure by the corporate office: one in downtown, the other near Gateway Transit Center deep in Northeast Portland (“Falling Starbucks,” July 20). Starbucks said it was closing the shops because they had grown too dangerous. Such a rationale hit a nerve—several, actually. Some readers accused us of credulously accepting Starbucks’ narrative and painting over the company’s union-busting attempts. Others took exception to a quote from Jason Renaud saying business owners were scapegoating the mentally ill. Still others scoffed at our assertion that Starbucks operates a kiosk in a nearby Safeway. Readers were right about that one.

Dot Halford, via wweek.com: “I own a retail business downtown with a 17-year track record of success. I’ve considered closing the business because of the same issues. It’s incredibly fatiguing and often dangerous to be dealing with mentally unstable and drug-addled individuals day in and day out, plus I have the safety of my staff to consider. Making the decision to close has NOTHING to do with the success of my business. Does Jason Renaud actually think that Starbucks is a business failure? HIGHLY DELUDED.”

q (not anon), via Twitter: “This is not responsible journalism and you’re being a corporate mouthpiece for Starbucks. Very disappointed in the fact that WW glosses over the egregious union-busting by instead taking digs at homeless people.”

CH, via wweek.com: “The fucking balls to tell some kid running a register who ends up being a de facto social worker making minimum wage that the shit they see every day isn’t the actual issue.”

Dan Keeney, via wweek.com: “The faux outrage about a company closing a retail location when there are nine other Starbucks operating within a mile of the downtown location—two just a block or so away—is silly. Nobody will be inconvenienced by this.”

portlandeastside, via wweek.com: “My wife and I have been associated with the Gateway area for many years. Unfortunately, it has degenerated into a dark and creepy, scuzzy area, especially at night. We still frequent the Applebee’s at the other end of the parking lot from the Gateway Starbucks and Subway, but only in daylight at lunch time.”

Jodi Smith-Howells, via Facebook: “Chipotle is doing the same thing. Closing down locations due to ‘safety’ concerns. They also happen to be the locations also unionizing. Weird how that works.”

Mitch Craft, via Facebook: “Who cares, Starbucks is garbo. Maybe a locally owned coffee shop could open and thrive.”

William Ohle, via wweek.com: “My lord, who does the fact checking at WW? That’s a Fred Meyer at Gateway, not a Safeway. How could anyone who actually knows anything about Portland history get that wrong?” (Editor’s note: A Starbucks grocery kiosk is indeed inside a Fred Meyer near Gateway Transit Center, not a Safeway. WW regrets the error, which was inserted by WW’s news editor, who has lived here 15 years and really ought to know better.)

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