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A frequent target during Capitol Hill protests, E Olive Way Starbucks reopening

Downtown and Capitol Hill locations of the Starbucks chain are reopening after weeks of closures amid bouts of regular property damage from protest groups targeting the Seattle-based coffee giant.

A call to the E Olive Way location confirmed that the store is open again on a limited schedule after what the manager said was a five-week closure. For now, it is open only on weekdays but weekend hours are planned to be restored after November 30th. For now, the shop is also takeout and delivery only.

Most questions about the closures needed to be answered by Starbucks media relations, the manager told CHS. The company has not replied to multiple inquiries from CHS in recent weeks.

The company has said it is also making changes to its locations to add better spaces for mobile ordering and pickup “due to a retail environment that has shifted because of COVID-19 and to meet the already evolving customer needs of convenience.” The E Olive shop was closed for weeks late this summer for an overhaul following that announcement.


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E Olive Way damage from an October protest (Image: SPD)

Other shops in the downtown and Capitol Hill area have also now reopened or are making plans. The Broadway at Denny shop will reopen on Monday.

The E Olive Way store closed for a few weeks early in the pandemic due to COVID-19 restrictions and also closed for a short time this summer as Starbucks gave the location’s interior a makeover — apparently on a once a decade schedule. The popular location is one of the few in Seattle’s core with a dedicated parking lot. The company’s huge Starbucks Roastery on Melrose, meanwhile, has remained more consistently open and has managed to escape major damage behind its wall of protective plywood.

Capitol Hill’s “Gaybucks” has taken the brunt of vandalism during ongoing protests in the neighborhood with several incidents of broken glass and damage from fireworks. Starting with the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer, protesters said the chain was being targeted over its support of the Seattle Police Foundation.

Much of the business vandalism has been targeted. Vintage shop Rove, for example, was broken into and its goods dragged into the street and set on fire because the owner is the wife of one of the cops who shot and killed Charleena Lyles. Over the weekend, 12th Ave’s Cafe Argento had its windows busted. Its owner is part of the group of businesses and real estate owners suing the city over its handling of CHOP. Owner Faizel Khan also was featured in the New York Times talking about the difficulties the cafe has endured.

The property damage hasn’t been limited to coffee shops, of course. The city says vandalism is putting parking pay stations out of commission all around the Capitol Hill protest zone.


Recent weeks of anti-police demonstrations have continued to include bouts of property damage and incidents of broken glass at Starbucks shops including the stores on E Olive Way, Broadway, and 12th Ave at Columbia across from Seattle U as well as a few downtown locations.

The stores are reopening as demonstrations have continued on Capitol Hill though with smaller numbers of protesters. Groups have also swung efforts to other parts of the city even as a few continue to march nightly here. Wednesday night, a small protest group was reported on an onramp to I-5 from Capitol Hill. As the Washington State Patrol joined SPD in its response, demonstrators were reported moving across the Hill where a group was reported to be tagging the wall outside the East Precinct and dragging no parking signs into the street to block the intersection at 12th and Pine. There were no reported arrests. Late in the night, the group of around 25 was seen heading into Cal Anderson bringing another night of protest on Capitol Hill to a close.


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Dustin
Dustin
11 days ago

I welcome this news. Also, based on years of personal experience going to this location, each of the Starbucks employees in this picture are decent, lovely human beings. Glad to see their income streams coming back.

Brad
Brad
10 days ago
Reply to  Dustin

Hopefully it lasts. I’m not holding out hope the place won’t be bashed in again shortly. Maybe the weather will keep people from destoying the city they live in (or more likely near).

RWK
RWK
10 days ago

I don’t understand why Starbucks gets so much hate. Just because they are a large, successful business does not make them evil.

Patrick
Patrick
10 days ago

Love Cafe Argento. The gall of these “protesters” attacking small, minority owned businesses in the name of… oh, wait, they just want to smash things.