Latest: Starbucks shuts stores, asks workers to discuss race

The Latest on the Starbucks' plan to close stores Tuesday for anti-bias training. (all times local):

7 p.m.

Starbucks has closed thousands of stores and asked its employees to talk about when they noticed their racial identity, discuss what unconscious bias is and watch videos in which people of color describe feeling unwelcome in stores.

It was all part of the coffee chain's anti-bias training, created after the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks six weeks ago.

But whether the training will prevent another embarrassing incident remains to be seen.

Carla Ruffin, a New York regional director at Starbucks who took the training earlier in the day Tuesday, called the training necessary, saying: "We're never as human beings going to be perfect."


4 p.m.

A Starbucks worker cordoned off a line of customers at the company's famous Pike Place Market location in Seattle as employees prepared to receive anti-bias training.

The Seattle store, commonly referred to as the original Starbucks, stopped letting people in at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The company was holding training sessions at its 8,000 U.S. stores following an outcry over the arrest of two black men last month for sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks without buying anything.

Some people in Seattle were disappointed to be turned away, while others snapped selfies and asked why the store was closing so early.

Trina Mathis, who was visiting from Tampa, Florida, was frustrated that she couldn't get in to take a photo. But Mathis, who is black, said it is necessary because what happened in Philadelphia was wrong.

Others visiting the store felt it was overkill. Anna Teets, who lives in Washington state, says she thinks the problem has been fixed and the company has dealt with the situation.


3 p.m.

Turning away customers looking for an afternoon jolt of caffeine, Starbucks shops across the U.S. have begun closing up early to hold training for employees on recognizing hidden prejudices.

The Tuesday meetings are part of the coffee chain's effort to deal with the outcry over the arrest of two black men last month for sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks without buying anything.

After the incident, the company's leaders apologized and met with the men, and scheduled an afternoon of training for 175,000 employees at more than 8,000 U.S. stores.



Several black coffee shop owners in Philadelphia are suggesting that black customers make a habit of seeking out their businesses.

That comes as Starbucks prepares to close 8,000 U.S. stores Tuesday to hold unconscious bias training sessions for employees in response to the arrests of two black men in Philadelphia last month at one of its stores.

The group of black shop owners says their establishments often offer familiar and welcoming surroundings, and seek to strike a balance between the bottom line and providing a cultural experience.

Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse owner Ariell Johnson says she's called the police just once in the two years she's been open, and that should only happen when there's a provocation or sense of danger.

At the Philadelphia Starbucks, the two men hadn't bought anything while waiting for an associate.

Shoppe Black co-founder Shantrell P. Lewis says black customers shouldn't wait for a situation like the Starbucks arrests to patronize black businesses.


10:45 a.m.

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz says the company still aspires to be a place where everyone feels welcome.

As the company prepares to close thousands of stores Tuesday afternoon for anti-bias training, he said in a letter to customers that sometimes the company falls short.

The training comes after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia store while waiting for a business associate, a situation the company has said should not have occurred.

Schultz said the trainings will let employees share life experiences and reflect on society's biases as well as talk about creating public spaces where everyone feels like they belong.

He says the conversation will continue and become part of how Starbucks trains its employees.


1 a.m.

Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores nationwide Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training, the next of many steps the company is taking to try to restore its tarnished image as a hangout where all are welcome.

After the arrests of two black men in Philadelphia last month at one of its stores, the coffee chain's leaders apologized and met with the two men, but also reached out to activists and experts in bias training to put together a curriculum for its 175,000 workers.

Tuesday's four-hour session will give workers a primer on the history of civil rights from the 1960s to present day. Workers will also view a short documentary film.