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Some Worried Philadelphia Starbucks Closure Could Be Start Of Center City Business Exodus

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's been a prime spot for workers in Center City, but a Starbucks is closing because of concerns about crime and safety. The location that's closing is at 10th and Chestnut Streets. Some are worried it could be the start of a Center City exodus.

Nestled on the corner at 10th and Chestnut Streets in Center City, Starbucks has been a quick fix, especially for nurses and doctors working right across the street at Jefferson University Hospital.

"We're very sad that it's closing because it's so convenient for us to walk over," Sherine Martin said. "A little punch to the gut, but I can understand the reason why."

The coffee giant announced this store will be closing because of safety concerns.

Starbucks tells Eyewitness News there's been an increase of incidents inside the store with rising drug use and chronic homelessness. It's one of 16 Starbucks locations across the country closing due to a rise in crime.

Starbucks says, "We are focused on investing in safe store experiences and empowering our local leaders to put safety first."

"There's a lot of guys sleeping. They're doing everything," Enayat Karimi said.

Philadelphia police say records show there have been 17 disturbances inside the store and four thefts in progress over the past year.

Now with Starbucks closing up shop, some fear trouble is brewing for the business community in Center City and other stores may decide to leave as well.

"Pretzel Factory ain't here no more. The hoagie shop will probably be closing up, Primo's over here," Joseph Lamplugh said. "All the other ones are all closing up."

That could mean more empty storefronts and fewer options.

Pennsylvania Rep. Amen Brown says the city needs to address the surge in gun violence and what he calls a lack of accountability to help businesses thrive.

"It's our job to protect the business community and help invest more to the business community so we can keep growing jobs and keep jobs in the community," Brown said. "We need to hold people accountable for their actions, whatever that looks like, and until we do that, we're going to continue to see more and more businesses close."

"For these little businesses, I feel sorry for them," Lamplugh said. "It's challenging for them to make a living."

Starbucks employees say they will be transferred to other locations when their store closes at the end of July.

Right now, no additional closures are expected in our area.

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