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C-Stores Express Messages of Safety, Solidarity Amid Protests

Retailers close stores, adjust hours in wake of looting, property damage
Photograph: Shutterstock

CHICAGO — Convenience-store and other retailers are spreading a message of safety and solidarity as peaceful protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a police officer on May 25 in Minneapolis. Peaceful protests have been overshadowed by rioting in cities nationwide. For many retailers, the situation has intensified, causing multiple store closures and property damage. 

“We understand the feelings of injustice in our society and seek a future that is abundant with dignity and respect for all people,” 7-Eleven Inc., Irving, Texas, said in a statement provided to CSP Daily News. “As an organization, we are committed to inclusion and fairness to everyone. We are focused on supporting the Franchisees and their store teams as well as our corporate store teams who have been impacted by the events of the last 48 hours. Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided, along with Franchisees, to temporarily close 7-Eleven stores in locations where local officials have issued guidance to do so. We will continue to operate with guidance from officials as we acknowledge the pain experienced by communities we serve.”

Kyle Krause, chairman and CEO of Kum & Go LC, Des Moines, Iowa, issued the following statement:

The killing of George Floyd is the latest tragedy in a long history of violence against people of color. Across the country, we are seeing the dividends sown by generations of systemic racism. Today, it is incumbent upon us all to make changes that will create a better country, and a better tomorrow. I stand with our black associates, customers and communities. I kneel alongside them, too.

However, acknowledging that Black Lives Matter is only the beginning.

We all need to do our part. As the Chairman and CEO of Krause Group, my family has had the privilege to be a part of the communities we serve for generations. We can do more. We must do more.

It’s why I’m proud to be donating $25,000 to the Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization committed to addressing the structural and system nature of racism in our society.

We also need to do more listening. Our stores and businesses serve hundreds of thousands of people each day. Are we doing all we can to make sure our black associates and customers feel safe? Feel welcome? We will do more.

From Minneapolis, to New York City, to right here in Des Moines, our country is bleeding. We will continue to do what’s right for our communities, our stores, our businesses and, most of all, our people. As James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

We will keep listening. We will keep raising our voices. And we will keep facing and working to change this—together.


Kyle J. Krause 

Among the many convenience stores that were affected, a Wawa store in Philadelphia was burned on Saturday night, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.  The Wawa, Pa.-based chain is assessing the damage and did not tell the newspaper when the site would reopen.

Many other retailers in all channels sustained damage and closed stores.

CVS closed approximately 60 drug stores across 21 states, reported USA Today.

"More than 250 of our CVS Pharmacy locations across 21 states have experienced varying levels of damage over the past several days," Amy Thibault, senior manager of corporate communications for CVS Health, told the newspaper on Monday. Stores will reopen once repairs are made and it is safe to open to the public, she said.

Target has closed two stores in Minneapolis, including its Lake Street store near where Floyd was killed, and one store each in Oakland, Calif., Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. The stores will reopen “as soon as it is safe to do so” but the Lake Street store will require rebuilding, with a goal of opening in late 2020.

“We’re providing community support and prioritizing the rebuilding of our Lake Street store,” Target said. “We have teams working to provide basic first aid supplies, water and essentials through partnerships with local nonprofits. We appreciate members of the community and our team who have assisted in cleaning in and around that location. We are now boarding the store up until we can survey the location and begin recovery efforts.”

Team members affected by the closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours, including COVID-19 premium pay. They will also be able to work at other nearby Target locations. “In any of our other locations that are damaged or at risk, the safety and well-being of our team, guests and the surrounding community will continue to be our paramount priority,” Cornell said.

“We are a community in pain. That pain is not unique to the Twin Cities—it extends across America,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Minneapolis-based Target, in a statement. “As a Target team, we’ve huddled, we’ve consoled, we’ve witnessed horrific scenes similar to what’s playing out now and wept that not enough is changing. And as a team we’ve vowed to face pain with purpose.”

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart has also closed stores amid vandalization and looting. A Walmart spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that more than a dozen stores across the country have sustained damage, with “hot spots” including Minnesota and Dallas.

“As we continue to monitor the situations unfolding across Minneapolis, we will keep our focus on prioritizing the safety of our associates and customers,” President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “What our country experienced this week yet again reminds us of the need for us to support each other and to come together. Until we, as a nation, confront and address these hard realities, we will never achieve the best of what we can be.”

An Amazon Go on Capitol Hill in Seattle also sustained damage, said a report by the Seattle Times.

Seattle-based Amazon has sent notices to drivers in almost a dozen cities, including Minneapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles, Nashville and Miami, to stop delivering packages. “We are monitoring the situation closely and in a handful of cities we’ve adjusted routes or scaled back typical delivery operations to ensure the safety of our teams,” an Amazon spokesperson told the newspaper.

Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired in 2017, said May 31 it was temporarily closing or adjusting store hours at several locations across the country. Whole Foods’ stores near Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Chicago remain closed, while a Bryant Park store in New York, which has only been open for grocery delivery due to the coronavirus outbreak, is ending online orders early as a result of protests, a Whole Foods spokesperson told CNBC.

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