The Interstate Drive Starbucks in Cookeville will close at 2:30 p.m. today as part of the company’s national racial bias training.
The Cookeville location is one of over 8,000 stores across the United States closing this afternoon to train employees.
The training comes a month after a Philadelphia Starbucks manager called police on two African-American men waiting on a friend. The men, who hadn’t made a purchase, were denied from using the store’s restroom as well.
In a press release following the incident, Starbucks made the decision to close stores in order to address implicit bias.
“The company’s founding values are based on humanity and inclusion,” said Executive Chairman Howard Schultz. “We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer.”
Company CEO Kevin Johnson said Starbucks is committed to making improvements where needed.
“Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities,” said Johnson.
A manager at the Interstate Drive location declined to comment on the training.
Last week, Starbucks informed its employees people may gather in their store or use restrooms without having to buy anything.
Corporate-owned locations are the only stores conducting the training. Franchise stores, such as the Tennessee Tech campus and Crossville Kroger locations, are not required to close and will be open for normal business hours.