Seattle’s online retail giant Amazon has added its heavy mark to its home city’s democratic process. Starbucks is taking a lighter but more vocal approach.
Monday, the day before ballots are due on November 5th, the coffee giant is hosting “Wake Up and Vote” events at 10 of its area shops including a location in District 3.
Additionally, the company said its vice president John Kelly sent a letter to “thousands of Seattle-area partners” detailing how “Starbucks has experienced the impact of the city’s public safety decline first-hand” and linking to the controversial report that sparked the “Seattle is Dying” backlash.
The announcement of the events included an excerpt from Kelly’s message to employees:
“The decline in [Seattle’s] public safety has forced local leadership to alter store operations to protect our partners and customers. This includes adjusting when stores open and close, working closely with the Seattle Police Department and local service providers, and providing de-escalation training to partners to help them better manage these challenges with compassion and care. In some instances, we’ve had to make difficult decisions to close stores that face too high a risk for partners and customers.
Fortunately, when stores have closed, we have been able to provide partners opportunities in other locations. And while closing stores remains a last resort, we may need to repeat that approach given thestate of public health and safety in our city.
…We are asking for your help: use your voice to advocate for change. Your vote, your voice – whatever your opinion and choice may be – have never been more critical to the future of our hometown… everyone in Seattle has a right to a functioning and accountable government. Now is the time to demand one.”
Monday’s event comes in a political year for the coffee giant. Former CEO — and D3 voter — Howard Schultz toyed with a possible independent run for president earlier this year.
The District 3 “Wake Up and Vote” event will be held at the Starbucks at 23rd and Jackson. That cafe was integral in one expansion path for Starbucks as it teamed with investors like NBA great Magic Johnson on a string of “inner-city stores” following the successful opening of the Starbucks cafe at the busy Central District intersection. It has been the host for the company’s past dabbling in City of Seattle issues. In 2015, Schultz and then SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole hosted a forum on racism and policing at the Central District cafe. Today, it stands across the street from a massive redevelopment in the neighborhood as construction is moving into final phases on a set of two seven-story buildings from Vulcan that will create more than 500 new homes at the key neighborhood intersection.
“To spread voting cheer, 10 Starbucks stores in the Seattle area will host informational tables (with free Starbucks coffee) for customers to understand where they can drop off their ballot, and why civic engagement is crucial,” Starbucks says about the events.
The Central District “Wake Up and Vote” event takes place from 1 PM to 2:30 PM Monday, November 4th at 2300 S Jackson.
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