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'System failures': Starbucks to close its doors amid recent violence in Osborne Village

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The long-standing Starbucks in Osborne Village is set to close its doors next week – it comes one day after a man was attacked next door.

The organization confirmed to CTV News Winnipeg the closure will begin on May 6.  While Starbucks says the closure is temporary, there has been no indication how long it will last.

“We would like to thank you for being part of our store community; you are the heart of who we are at Starbucks,” a sign on the front door of the coffee shop reads. “We are very thankful to have played a role in your daily routine and that you have shared these moments of your life with us.”

The manager of the store was not able to speak to CTV News, deferring comment to the brand’s communications department.

A spokesperson for Starbucks told CTV News this decision was made after 'careful consideration.'

The spokesperson did not give any specific reasoning behind the closure, and told CTV News they have no additional details to share at this time.

Man attacked outside Liquor Mart: police

Area residents and advocates believe the closure has something to do with several violent incidents in the Village.

On Wednesday evening, a man was attacked while inside the vestibule of the Liquor Mart, right next door to the Starbucks.

Police said one man was arrested after a confrontation with officers outside the store. He was charged with assault by choking, suffocating or strangling.

It's the latest in several violent incidents that have hit the Village.

Just last month, police say a woman was stabbed at a bus stop near the River and Osborne intersection, and in a separate incident nearby a man was seriously assaulted.

In February, police said a 26-year-old man was stabbed at the Osborne Transit Station, and last November there was a triple stabbing at the Shoppers Drug Mart.

'These are truly system failures': BIZ says

"The level of violent incidents that are going on, these are truly system failures," said Zohreh Gervais, the executive director of the Osborne Village BIZ.

"These are not things that business owners and businesses are meant to be dealing with."

She said while local businesses and residents have taken it upon themselves to address crime, with initiatives like the SABE Peace Walkers – it’s a responsibility Gervais says shouldn't fall on their shoulders.

"I'm not sure how we got to the point where it was expected that the BIZ zone with our tiny little operating budget that is meant to plant flowers and beautify the neighbourhood somehow became responsible for public security – like, that's insanity," Gervais said.

"I really hope that this provides a sort of alarm bell to the government to step up and actually start really dealing with these issues, because they are escalating and they are escalating quickly."

Provincial public safety strategy coming this fall

Justice Minister Matt Wiebe said the province is taking steps to deal with public safety, most recently hosting a Public Safety Summit in Winnipeg.

"We spent the day talking about solutions," Wiebe said, adding this will help inform a public safety strategy set to be released this Fall. "(It) will give you a better sense of how we can work together, what some of the solutions are, and how the provincial government can play a greater role in keeping our community safe."

Area councillor Sherri Rollins said she has had discussions with the premier and the mayor about the safety concerns in Osborne Village.

"I really would like to see more finely grained community policing in Osborne village," she said. "I've heard from businesses who are concerned with response times when incidents do happen… and the level of community policing that sometimes they don't feel as exists in the village."

Address the root causes of crime, resident says

Dianne McConnell says she's sad to see Starbucks close its doors. In the roughly six years she's been living in the area, she's seen several businesses close-up shop.

If something isn't done soon, she fears more businesses will leave the Village that is already peppered with empty store fronts and for-lease signs.

"We need to look at the homelessness crisis, we need to look at the addiction crisis. And we need to actually solve the problems that are actually creating the crime around the area," she said.

 

A notice posted on the River Avenue Starbucks door informing customers of its impending closure is pictured on May 2, 2024. (Danton Unger/CTV News Winnipeg)

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