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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dear Eastsider: What happened to the sofas at the Echo Park Starbucks?

Starbucks came to Echo Park about a decade ago, finding a home inside a noisy Lucy’s Laundry Mart on Sunset Boulevard near Alvarado along with a Subway sandwich shop and other stores. It’s not exactly the sleek, corporate coffee house setting Starbucks has perfected. That’s fine with a resident named Katherine, who had grown fond of chaos and the mix of people, which includes a great many homeless who frequently occupied the comfy Starbucks couches. But, recently, Katherine noticed that the sofas and upholstered chairs had been removed:

“In the past I noticed that the Starbucks staff were very kind to the homeless population drifting in and out of the complex, and I liked that the couches gave people who live outdoors a place to comfortably rest indoors. The place is chaotic, with the TV noise competing with everyone else’s yelling and the laundry machines, but somehow it worked. Now the couches are gone and the place is much less hospitable. Any idea what happened?

A visit to Lucy’s found only a few tables and chairs scattered near the Starbucks. Two employees of Lucy’s Laundry said the sofas had been removed because of problems with the homeless. The Starbucks manager referred The Eastsider to Starbucks’ public relations. In a statement, Starbucks didn’t address the homeless issue, saying instead the changes in furniture were in response to customer comments:

“Starbucks takes pride in maintaining a comfortable and welcoming environment for our customers and we encourage feedback on how we can make Starbucks a more enjoyable place. Customers at the Starbucks store located at 2134 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles have been requesting tables and chairs to allow for a better working environment.”



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