'Starbucks Appreciation Day' Closes Newtown Store Early

Melissa Stusinski

Gun rights advocates staged a so-called "Starbucks Appreciation Day" across the country on Friday, including the store in Newtown, Connecticut.

The appreciation day went well for gun owners, despite expected opposition -- until the company decided to close its Newtown store early.

Newtown is the site of a mass shooting that killed 26 people, including 20 elementary school students. Since the killings last December, the town has been at the center of the debate on gun control.

The Starbucks Appreciation Day was organized by several gun rights advocates, who wished to celebrate the coffee chain's policy on concealed carry, reports The Huffington Post.

In states where it is legal, Starbucks won't prohibit customers from carrying guns. But the upcoming meeting on Friday evening by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League may have been going to far -- at least to the coffee chain.

The company released a letter on its website, announcing the Newtown store would close early in light of the expected meeting. In the letter, executive vice president for US retail Chris Carr commented that the company is not endorsing or sponsoring the Starbucks Appreciation Day.

Carr added that, while they "appreciate that our customers share diverse points of view" on important issues, the company also believes "in being sensitive to each community we serve."

So, the company decided to close the store in the Connecticut town, "out of respect for Newtown and everything the community has been through." Carr added that the company encourages customers and advocacy groups on both sides of the debate to speak with elected officials, who are responsible for the open carry laws Starbucks follows.

In closing, Carr added, "Thank you for your understanding and respect for the Newtown community." Despite the early closure, more than two dozen gun rights supporters still showed up in camouflage or Connecticut Citizens Defense League t-shirts to show their support for the company's policies.

Even after the store shut down, advocates on both sides of the debate stood outside in heavy rain by the store. Do you think Starbucks did the right thing in shutting down the Newtown store ahead of the expected Starbucks Appreciation Day?

[Image by Michal Osmenda via Wikimedia Commons]