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Homeless issue likely forced North Park Starbucks to close

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 21:26:27-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Starbucks that played a key role in redeveloping North Park will soon serve its last drink.

Carly Clegg is a regular at the Starbucks next to The Observatory North Park.

"It's a bummer," said Clegg.

The collection of notes posted inside the Starbucks tell the story: Customers bidding farewell to their Starbucks. It will close up for good Saturday. The apparent reason for the closing is one regular Robert Green knows well.

Several customers who have asked employees why it's closing have been told an increase in homeless individuals are turning off customers, leading to a decline in sales.

"There are people camped out there all day. I noticed an uptick starting about five years ago," said Green.

"When I have family and friends that come in, they walk by and say, 'Let's go to another one,'" Clegg added.

The closing comes some seven months after Starbucks announced customers would no longer be required to buy something to use the restroom or hang out. Critics said the policy could attract more homeless.

Closures like this one are likely to add fuel to the debate.

"You hate for this business to go out with a whimper," said Green.

The Starbucks opened up 13 years ago during the renovation of the North Park Theatre. Green was on the planning committee that approved the redevelopment project.

"They stuck out their necks. They were one of the first businesses in. They were a catalyst," said Green.

Green says the long morning lines he saw at the Starbucks five years ago have disappeared. He hopes the closure won't be sign of things to come.

"A lot of people have put a lot of work and money into this neighborhood ... It makes you wonder who could be affected next," said Green.

In a statement, Starbucks says, "... as part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually evaluate our business to ensure a healthy store portfolio. After careful consideration, we’ve determined it is best to close the store at 2899 University Avenue in San Diego, CA."