Starbucks closing Canal Street location citing crime, racism, mental health

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 5:16 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A spokesperson for Starbucks says they will close their popular Canal Street location after nine years due to safety and security concerns.

Several other Starbucks locations will remain open in New Orleans and neighboring Canal Street business owners say they have no intention of joining the national chain in evacuating the area.

On Oct. 3, the coffee shop will close its doors for good.

Without providing details on specific incidents, Starbucks spokesman Sam Jefferies says “challenges to personal safety and security, racism, a growing mental health crisis, and issues magnified by COVID are challenges playing out within our stores.”

“I think security is a concern on everyone’s mind,” a Starbucks customer told Fox 8. “If they’re making this decision, I’m sure it’s based on the safety of its customers, as well as their employees.”

Five other downtown Starbucks locations will remain open, as well as several others throughout New Orleans, which is on pace to record the highest rate of homicides per capita of any major city this year.

More: Over 580 people shot in New Orleans this year, 208 killed

The owner of the historic Canal Street clothing store Rubenstein’s says business is booming on the other side of the intersection of Canal and Royal Streets.

“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,” says David Rubenstein. “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.”

Tiffany Adler says the closure of Starbucks is unfortunate for the area, admitting there has been some criminal activity in the past but says her high-end jewelry store is doing fine just a few doors down.

“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,” says Adler.

Rubenstein says homeless people drinking and sleeping along Canal Street are his biggest concern.

“It’s not what people like to see,” says Rubenstein.

The Downtown Development District of New Orleans say it is disappointed by the closure of a national outlet in such a high-profile location.

“We are keenly aware that public safety is a top concern for our stakeholders,” the DDD said in a statement. They pointed out, that more than half of their budget is being used to enhance public safety.

“It’s just a business decision. You have to make those kinds of decisions, but it’s not a black eye on the city. You have Starbucks a block away,” says Rubenstein.

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