The company-owned Starbucks location in the heart of Newtown Borough will close next month for a nationwide “racial-bias education” for staff.
The West Coast-based coffee shop chain announced Tuesday that they will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores for the staff training on Tuesday, May 29. The announcement comes days after two black men were remove and arrested at a Center City Starbucks in Philadelphia. The men were not charged and police were responding to a complaint from the store manager.
“All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29. During that time, partners will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome,” a company press release said.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
The Starbucks at the corner of Centre Street and State Street will be participating in the training. Other company-owned locations in Bensalem, Lower Makefield, Middletown, and Yardley will also close on May 29.
The Starbucks location inside the Acme on West Road in Newtown Township is not a company-owned store. However, Starbucks noted they will make the training materials available to licensee partners.
Following the weekend incident in Philadelphia, Starbucks began reviewing its training and policies to see where changes can be made, the company said.
Numerous media outlets reported that the two men were seated inside the Starbucks waiting to meet with another man to discuss a business investment opportunity. Video taken by bystanders shows the men talking at a table. A manager at the Starbucks reportedly called police after one of the men asked for access to the bathroom. Officers removed the men and took them into custody after they did not leave. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office did not file charges.
Starbucks confirmed in a press statement that the manager who made the call to police no longer works at that location.
Starbucks location often allow people to work in their locations and hold small meetings even if none of the individuals are customers.
The incident caused outrage across the country and the location where the incident happened was the site of a protest Monday.
“I will fix this,” Starbucks’ CEO said in a video message.