Starbucks on Monument Circle to permanently close

Starbucks Circle
Coffee retailer Starbucks will close a location at 55 Monument Circle on Oct. 28. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

Starbucks confirmed Friday that it will close its store on Monument Circle on Oct. 28, saying that the company’s first priority “is to make sure our partners are safe at work.”

The company did not cite any specific incidents at the Circle Tower location at 55 Monument Circle, but it said in a statement that Starbucks will close a store when modifying store operations aren’t enough to make employees and customers feel supported.

The move comes several months after Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz posted a video to Twitter in which he said the company would close stores because of safety-related problems including crime, homelessness and drug use in restrooms. Starbucks announced plans then to close locations in Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon.

In Indianapolis, local officials said crime has not increased recently downtown and that most of the reports it receives involve property crimes, not violent crime.

Commander Phillip Burton, who oversees the the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s downtown district, said Starbucks management did not alert the police about any increase in criminal activity or other problems.

“It is a shame that Starbucks did not communicate their concerns about any safety issues that they were experiencing to us,” Burton told IBJ. “We have a great relationship with so many of the businesses downtown.

“I’m constantly having our officers go in and just speak to the managers when they’re doing their foot patrols and the bike patrols, just take those few extra minutes just to see if they do have any concerns. And we were not made aware of any safety issues or concerns with Starbucks.”

Taylor Schaffer, the new CEO of Downtown Indy Inc., called the announcement “disappointing.” She said data indicates that downtown accounts for less than 5% of the city’s overall crime.

“We are committed to ensuring that residents and visitor alike feel safe in our regional center,” Schaffer said in a statement. “That’s why we are collaborating with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to prioritize investment in public safety initiatives including increased patrols, the instillation of new crime-fighting technologies, and engagement from Downtown Indy Inc.’s safety ambassadors.”

Overall, crime in Indianapolis is down compared with 2021. In a statement, Mark Bode, a spokesman for Mayor Joe Hogsett, said the city continues to work with IMPD and stakeholders “to keep downtown a safe and vibrant place to live, work, and play.”

But despite repeated assurances from city officials that downtown is safe, there has been a perception that the city’s central core has become more dangerous, especially since the start of the pandemic and after race-related riots in 2020.

Downtown businesses have complained about homelessness. And there are often people near the Starbucks sleeping on the sidewalk or on the monument itself. Panhandling is common nearby.

Burton said Starbucks employees were known to provide free drinks to homeless people. “And we believe this may have contributed to that environment of unease for their customers and employees,” he said.

Asked specifically about safety at the Monument Circle location, a Starbucks spokesperson sent the following statement:

“We routinely review the partner and customer experience in our stores, to see if the store is thriving, [employees] are feeling supported, and that we are meeting customer needs. Our local leaders are, and have always been, empowered to use the many resources at their disposal to modify store operations and create the best experience for our communities. But when necessary, we will make the decision to close a store.”

Cyndi Carrasco, the Republican running for Marion County prosecutor, jumped on the news about the Starbucks closure with a statement pointing out that Democrat Ryan Mears, who was appointed prosecutor and is seeking a full term, said this week, “Downtown is safe.”

“I wish this were the case,” Carrasco said. “Today, Starbucks announced they will be closing their location right on Monument Circle, the heart of downtown, due to safety concerns for their employees.

Citing citywide statistics—not downtown data—she said “violence throughout Indianapolis is out of control, and our once vibrant and thriving downtown is suffering. People are dying, and businesses are closing.”

Hogsett is seeking additional resources for the IMPD.

The City-County Council is expected to vote Monday on his proposed 2023 budget, which “features an unprecedented public safety investment that helps fund 200 additional IMPD officer positions, increases first-year officer pay, and continues to build out robust law enforcement technology,” Bode said. He could not say how many of those officers might be part of the downtown district, but he said that ” if we are successful in filling our budgeted positions, every IMPD district will see their officer ranks boosted.”

Starbucks said that employees affected by the Monument Circle closure will have a chance to transfer to a different Starbucks location.

Starbucks has six other locations within downtown’s mile square. Three are located inside hotels, one is in a Kroger, one is at 430 N. Massachusetts Ave. and the other at 414 W. Vermont, part of street-level retail at a Hampton Inn.

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66 thoughts on “Starbucks on Monument Circle to permanently close

    1. Funding for solving the homeless problem needs to come from the Federal and State governments. At this point, it seems like it has become a problem in every major city.

    2. Yes the idiot dems will keep voting for their democrats and watch city sink and somehow wonder why.

    3. The problem is the state legislature that are keeping conventions from renewing and keeping Lilly from expanding here.

    4. Wes, Wes, Wes. Maybe you should stick to reading the IndyStar. Their stories more align with your beliefs of reality.

    5. Really this has become a problem in every major city. If you look at our metrics and compare them to national averages and to our peer cities, you’d see we are actually better on crime than most. Friends and people I know that come to visit always act surprised and impressed by our city and talk about how it’s actually better than where they live. We’re also doing better at real bad crimes than most in the country. Unfortunately, without any meaningful policy changes to the open gun policies of Republicans, which have a stranglehold on Indiana, we won’t see any meaningful improvement. We’ve got to have zero tolerance and max penalties for theft, vandalism and even petty theft should be a felony. There’s still too many people giving the homeless stuff, clothes, money, supplies, etc., when they should be giving it to the shelters and places successfully getting people set for success, not individuals as this helps, nearly encourages them to sustain a homeless lifestyle. If you make it too nice, they’ll never leave.

  1. It would be nice if corporate executives could speak like normal humans and cut the HR- burnished BS. What does “our employees feel supported” mean? To the extent it means anything, it’s the employer’s job to make its employees feel supported. If what Starbucks is saying is crime and homelessness make it impossible to operate a business at that location, then say it!! Hard for the city leaders to get the message from that mush mouth, PR crap.

    1. Homelessness downtown is a thing! Crime downtown is a thing! I have been a patron at that Starbucks, and I wouldn’t want to walk into the restrooms to see someone doing drugs or whatever. It’s a problem, and the Democratic City Administration does NOT want to do anything about it. There was another article in the IBJ not too long ago where a logistics company moved their location from Virginia Ave to Fishers and cited crime as the reason. But they can keep ignoring it if they want to and let the ship go down….

    2. Agreed Gloria!
      Crime, homelessness, and drug abuse downtown will have severe consequences.
      You
      Just the few times lately that I’ve went to the circle, there have been homeless
      people hanging out in front of the Starbucks panhandling and being obnoxious.

      That particular Starbucks was always busy and probably very profitable.
      Sad that it is closing.

    3. Wow: Look at those liberal enclaves where Starbucks is closing stores!

      Holy cow, Black Lives Matter and all that….destroy inner cities in response to George Floyd dying of a Fentanyl overdose (per the Coroner’s Report, for those who dare read it), and one of the most liberal and woke of all corporations has to close stores in those very cities.

      When, oh when, will people wake up and see what all this nonsense breeds?

      Author Ayn Rand famously said, “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

      BINGO.

    4. Brent B.
      I believe the fentenyal along with the duress that George Floyd put himself
      under is what killed him.

      Floyd was complaining he couldn’t breath long before Derek Chauvin put
      his knee on the back of Floy’s shoulder and neck.
      Also, watch the video very closely. Chauvin lifts his knee periodically.

      Second, whether the fentenyal or Chauvin having his knee on Floyd’s neck
      caused the death, BLM/Antifa had NO right to riot in our city.
      They destroyed and looted over a man that died over 800 miles away
      with literally no connection to Indianapolis.

      Yet, we have to celebrate BLM. It’s all bull crap.
      Second, the Dems supported this BLM movement based on lies and racism. Our
      city has paid a big price for that utter nonsense.

    5. Keith B., just who or what is “Antifa” (where are they based, who is their leadership, how are they organized and funded)? I know The MAGAverse loves to cite it/them for playing a large role in unrest and riots in a number of cities around the country, yet when asked for some evidence – any provable evidence – that it/they actually exist, answers are evasive if not outright elusive.

      Oh, and what you “believe” about what killed George Floyd is irrelevant inasmuch as you were not present when four cops had him pinned to the ground or at his autopsy. Your are free to embrace any opinions you want, but not to have your own set of alleged facts.

    6. Brent B.
      Just because you haven’t heard of or know about Antifa does NOT
      mean they don’t exit. I didn’t label these fools. These people call themselves Antifa. They have a history of vandalism and violence.
      You can look them up on YouTube
      Read the reports by the Texas ATF, Portland PD, Seattle PD,
      Minneapolis PD, ect….. sometime if you doubt their existence.

      I also am a fact based person. That’s why I despise the whole BLM/Antifa
      movement. It’s racist and based on lies. They rioted, vandalized, and looted
      our downtown businesses over-
      1). Lies
      2). A man ( career criminal ) that died over 800 miles away with literally no
      connection to Indianapolis.

      As far as George Floyd-
      Floyd was screaming he couldn’t breath as soon as the police officers were
      attempting to arrest him, Well before Chauvin arrived on the scene.
      Also, police officers will tell you that suspects scream they can’t breath
      It’s quite common.

      Floyd did ingest some of the drugs that he had on him. Again, nothing
      uncommon about that when suspects encounter the police. Happens all the time.

      What ANGERS me is that BLM/Antifa pukes did a great deal of
      damage to our city that we are still dealing with. Yet we have to celebrate
      the movement.

      Our downtown and the people of Indianapolis did NOT deserve that.

    7. Why is Kanye posting his conspiracy theories around Floyd on the IBJ under the pseudonym Bob?

  2. This has nothing to do with crime and everything to do with the demographics of people who go Starbucks.

    For the last several years (and perpetuated by COVID), the core of Downtown has been been shifting from an office hub to a residential and hospitality hub. Office space has been moving to the fringes of Downtown and old office buildings have been getting converted to hotels and apartment buildings.

    Office commuters make up a large part of the Starbucks demo. There is less active office space around Monument Circle than there has been in the long time. It is no wonder that they closed this location. At the same time, they opened a new location a few blocks away on West Street, where they have access to IUPUI’s campus with all of its students, professors, researchers, and medical professionals.

    Meanwhile, the core of Downtown recently added a couple new hotels and Sugar Factory, all of which cater to the market trends we’re seeing in Downtown Indianapolis.

    1. What city are you living in? This has everything to do with crime, filth and allowing homeless to overrun our downtown. It’s really disgusting and totally unnecessary. The city needs to build and operate a homeless compound(s) and scoop the homeless and panhandlers daily that show up and place them in this facility. Repeat offenders should be placed in a minimum-security detention facility, where some of them may spend the rest of their lives since the mental hospitals are closed. We cannot allow this insanity (pardon the pun) to continue any longer.

  3. Unfortunately I’m not surprised by this. I live downtown and frequent this location. There is always a large presence of homeless people around the circle yelling at themselves (voices in their head), fighting each other, or just passed out. A handful of them are posted right outside of the doorways. While many of them are passive, there are definitely aggressive people camping out on the circle and I encountered them on multiple occasions. I can only imagine what working at this location is like. Truly disappointed that the circle has gone to this level…

  4. Our downtown is not safe period. Already had one company move out of downtown because of safety. Another is moving to the mall but only because parking is inside the mall and has 24 hr security. But our mayor and prosecutor say the same thing, ” our city is safe”.

    1. It’s so discouraging. I was hardly a fan of the schlub that was Greg Ballard, but he’s basically a Fiorello LaGuardia (or a Bill Hudnut for that matter) compared to Hogsett. Then again, this negligence characterizes the leadership of EVERY big-city mayor in the country. Indy’s still faring better than Chicago/MPLS/Louisville/St. Louis/many others in the region…and the Midwest is faring better than the coastal cities.

      Granted, this is in no small amount due to the wokery infesting Starbucks’ leadership, who believed they should accommodate loitering and open their restrooms up to non-customers. The outcome was inevitable. Profitable Starbucks locations were closing left and right in urban areas where homeless filth lurk nearby.

      As recently as 2017 the Circle was still a vibrant place. How quickly things can fall when half the country engulfs themselves in a mass delusion. They’ll keep making excuses for it, won’t they? As evidenced below.

  5. I think that, if you look closely, our prosecutor doesn’t prosecute many petty crimes, just mainly violent ones. This contributes to the general decline of people feeling safe downtown. The police will quit arresting for many property crimes, etc. it they know that the criminals will be back on the street with no bail before the officer can finish the paperwork. This is just a local symptom of a national problem.

    1. Cops Are as much of the problem as anything. We should have fewer cops we should pay them more we should train them better. This includes intelligence testing.

    2. Sam C.
      We aren’t getting as many highly qualified applicants for the IMPD because
      of this whole BLM/Dem attack on the police that occurred in 2020.

      Second, IMPD are very well trained. Some of the best training in the nation.

      The problem with Circle is our tolerance of anti social behavior.
      ***You get what you tolerate. ****(

    1. Did it occur to you that blm was formed due to angry uneducated ptsd ridden killing unarmed blank people?

    2. Impd are no better than any other cops – angry stupid racist nervous – as Marvin Gaye said “ trigger happy police “

    1. Micah D.
      It has everything to do with crime, the perception of crime, homelessness,
      drug addicts, and panhandlers impeding local business downtown.

      City Market is another example of a place that many people now avoid.

      I know many people that no longer go downtown because of the loitering,
      panhandling, and homelessness.

      You get what you tolerate.

    2. So the company posts they are closing due to crime but you know otherwise? What secret insight do you have Micah into Starbucks internal operations?

  6. It seem that more and more when someone can’t think of a good response to make to a point another has made, they simply declare the other person to be a racist.

    1. To be fair – half the droll on this comment section is just racists finding a reason to blame black people for a store closing that was alleged to be unionizing

    2. Frankie, funny how you’re the only one attributing it to black people.

      Do you really think Indiana is going to be the hotbed of union organizing efforts? Such delusion.

  7. I wonder how many of you bashing downtown lives downtown. I do, and it isn’t bad as far as crime. And, if you travel to any mid to large size city in the U.S. you will see a large and growing homeless population. The cost of rent is unaffordable in this country and there is a lack of resources for mental health issues. The knee jerk reaction to blame Democrats or any other boogeyman is ridiculous, though typical these days. Why doesn’t Starbucks and all of you other complainers step up a do something to help? Screaming on Facebook or IBJ comments might make you you feel better but it helps no one.

    1. Yet, here you are. Helping no one. And pinning the blame on people you merely disagree with. Seems a little hypocritical.

    2. I will do something…. Not vote for democrats who believe in the welfare state that kills individual responsibility and motivation in life. The democrats compassion is misguided and does more long term harm than short term good.

    3. I moved to downtown in 2015 and it is definitely worse now. I also refuse to accept that just because other cities are increasingly experiencing similar problems that we should also accept it here. Good leaders take action and solve problems.

  8. The space they’re leaving behind in the Circle Tower Building is probably too small for anything but a coffee shop
    Hopefully the building owner can find a local operator to open in Starbucks’ place.
    All being said… it is a good location.

  9. Too many Karen’s commenting here who don’t even LIVE downtown. Just because you encounter a *gasp* homeless person on your bi-monthly trek to the “inner-city” from your vinyl village in the burbs does NOT mean that downtown is unsafe. Those of us who live here, you know, actually DOWNTOWN, know this. You people see a vague blurb about a business closing or relocating from downtown but are completely oblivious to all of the OTHER development that is continually happening here (and far outpaces the unfortunate closings). Construction of new apartments can barely keep up with the demand, home values are increasing and are among the highest in Central Indiana, new hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues being announced weekly, it seems. Downtown Indianapolis is fine. You couldn’t pay me to live in the suburbs of this city.

    1. It is well known that people in urban center tend to glom together and form a hivemind, making them oblivious to the source of the increasingly vexing problems facing their once-thriving homes…and using every bit of mental gymnastics possible to rationalize some other source of culpability beyond a failed ideology.

      The best that can be said is that it isn’t infesting Indy and Indiana as bad as some places.

      Keep the delusion Marshall. Couldn’t pay you to live in the suburbs? Good! Show us how much better you are and cling to your Mile Square liferaft.

    2. I moved to downtown in 2015 and it is definitely worse now. I also refuse to accept that just because other cities are increasingly experiencing similar problems that we should also accept it here. Good leaders take action and solve problems.

  10. I live a couple miles from the city center. We used to go out in the city not frequently, but with some regularity. After some bad first hand experiences, and conversations with others who have had similar negative experiences, we don’t go out downtown – we drive further to outside of downtown where we don’t have to deal with the negatives. Life is too short to deal with BS.

  11. I thought the homeless, drug dealers in all the other undesirable types are what Starbucks welcomed with open arms to use the bathrooms and just come here and hang in the store.

    1. We live in a Republican state and crime is up in every county across the state….

      You may be into something blaming the state Republican legislatures!

    2. Let’s call Evan Bayh and tell him we’d like Central State back.…. Truthfully, it’s sad that we can’t do a better job in all cities addressing mental health and addiction issues. Indy doesn’t have a place for the people that need heavy side care other than 501c3’s that do their best. We choose to not fund it and then we have issues on the street. Even as a fiscal conservative, I see it.

      That being said….Democrat run cities having higher crime issues are no surprise to anyone. Weak on crime=problems! Tough on crime=less problems. Not that complicated.

  12. Mayor Hogsett and City Council are the problem. Period. Vote them out, friends! I had 6 successful businesses in Indianapolis. Sold the assets to all of them and moved out of the city that I loved so very much (and yes, my home was downtown – Fountain Square, to be exact) and crime, homelessness, dirtiness, dying businesses, etc. are the main reasons we left. It has been a very sad few years to watch the city we called home deteriorate to this sh** show.

    If you think our fine mayor really cares, ask him where he fled to as soon as the pandemic hit. He didn’t even stay in Marion County. He took off to his second home.. or maybe a rehabilitation center, one of the two. Rumours abound. Ask anyone in local politics.

  13. So, this pretty much ends the perception of crime issue in downtown Indianapolis. Can’t allow violent riots and homelessness in any city and expect it to thrive.

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