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This Iconic Coffee Chain Is Closing 130 Locations, Effective Immediately

The company says it will help the 2,000 employees who were affected find new work.

For many, stopping by your favorite cafe for a morning cup of coffee or an afternoon pick-me-up is part of a daily routine. But just like any store or restaurant, the same coffee shops we rely on for cappuccinos and cold brew can sometimes wind up shuttering due to slow business or a corporate decision. Now, one major coffee chain has announced that it will be closing 130 of its locations, effective immediately. Read on to see which iconic brand will be shuttering cafes in light of recent events.

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Many companies have recently decided to close their locations in Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine.

A store with "closed forever" signs hanging in the front doors

Companies can choose to downsize their locations for any number of reasons. But the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen many iconic brands decide to pull their business from the country to show opposition to the ongoing war. Since military operations began in February, dozens of major companies have suspended operations in Russia, including Nestlé, Nike, American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Netflix, Disney, Apple, Google, Amazon, FedEx, UPS, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and more, according to The New York Times.

Brick and mortar locations have also been affected. Fashion retailer H&M, Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo, Swedish furniture and housewares company Ikea, and Adidas all announced they would temporarily close their stores in the country.

A major coffee chain has said they are pulling their business out of Russia and closing all 130 locations there.

Lovely modern girl enjoying her time at a coffee shop.

Now, another major company has said that it will be exiting Russia for good due to the ongoing invasion. On May 23, Starbucks announced that it would be closing all 130 locations in the country and "no longer have a brand presence in the market." The existing shops, which are currently run as licensed locations and not directly run by the company, have been temporarily shuttered since March 8, when Starbucks decided to stop sending products into Russia, CNBC reports.

"Through this dynamic situation, we will continue to make decisions that are true to our mission and values and communicate with transparency," Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks at the time, wrote in March when the company initially suspended operations. "Thank you for the care and concern you are sharing with me and your leaders."

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The company has been operating in Russia for over 15 years.

Edinburgh, Scotland - July 19, 2011: A Starbucks Coffee sign outside a Starbucks Coffee outlet on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Starbucks Corporation is an international coffee and coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington.

Starbuck's decision to leave Russia comes 15 years after the company established its presence there with the opening of its first cafe in a shopping center near Moscow. According to CNBC, its operations in the country make up less than 1 percent of the company's annual revenue.

Despite the sudden change, the company said it would still be taking care of its employees affected by the closures. "We will continue to support the nearly 2,000 green apron partners in Russia, including pay for six months and assistance for partners to transition to new opportunities outside of Starbucks," it said in its statement.

Another major chain restaurant recently announced it was permanently leaving Russia.

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Starbucks isn't alone in entirely cutting ties with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. On May 16, McDonald's announced that it would be selling off its businesses in the country and closing its more than 850 locations there, CNBC reports. The restaurants—which have been sold to a Siberian franchisee and will no longer carry any of the company's logos, branding, or products—have been temporarily closed since early March.

The move represents a monumental shift from when the fast-food giant first entered the country decades ago in the waning days of the Soviet Union. "This is a complicated issue that's without precedent and with profound consequences," Chris Kempczinski, CEO of McDonald's, wrote in a company message obtained by The New York Times. "Some might argue that providing access to food and continuing to employ tens of thousands of ordinary citizens is surely the right thing to do. But it is impossible to ignore the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. And it is impossible to imagine the Golden Arches representing the same hope and promise that led us to enter the Russian market 32 years ago."

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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