Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

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Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by Brian Lutz » September 22nd, 2019, 9:34 am

https://komonews.com/news/local/bartell ... e-concerns

The 3rd and Union Bartell Drugs store (near Pike Place Market) will soon be closing due to excessive crime in the area. Bartell plans to continue paying the lease on the location until it ends, but will leave it vacant. The cost of shrink and having to employ armed security guards is causing the store to lose money.

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Re: Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by storewanderer » September 22nd, 2019, 2:23 pm

Brian Lutz wrote:
September 22nd, 2019, 9:34 am
https://komonews.com/news/local/bartell ... e-concerns

The 3rd and Union Bartell Drugs store (near Pike Place Market) will soon be closing due to excessive crime in the area. Bartell plans to continue paying the lease on the location until it ends, but will leave it vacant. The cost of shrink and having to employ armed security guards is causing the store to lose money.
There is an awful lot of retail surrounding this store... Walgreens basically a block over... I wonder if the store's volume was just too low to support the increased costs. It isn't right on a corner and doesn't have great visibility; it also is not very large in size.

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Re: Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by Brian Lutz » September 22nd, 2019, 2:52 pm

When I worked near the store I would go over there on occasion, and whenever I went there they seemed busier than either the Walgreens or the Rite Aid nearby. This store has also been around for quite a long time (although so has the Rite Aid, which I believe was originally a Pay 'n Save). There are still three other stores in Downtown (one in the Nordstrom building next to Westlake Center, one at Fourth and Madison next to the Library, and the International District store at Fourth and King) so people probably won't have to go much further to find another one. Bartell's is also opening another store in Belltown at roughly the same time this one will be closing.

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Re: Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by rwsandiego » October 7th, 2019, 10:49 pm

Just how bad is the crime in downtown Seattle? When I last visited (late 2010) I felt like I had to be aware of my surroundings, but it did not feel like there was an inordinate amount of crime. Has this changed?

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Re: Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by Brian Lutz » October 8th, 2019, 11:59 am

Most of the crime problems in Downtown seem to come from a relatively small number of habitual offenders (typically homeless drug addicts) that exploit loopholes in the system that make it difficult to prosecute them for anything. That said, that area (near Pike Place Market) is also notorious for drug dealing.

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Re: Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by buckguy » October 15th, 2019, 6:35 am

Businesses are rarely candid about decisions like this---I just assume the story is more complicated or they might just be outright lying. Most shrink comes from employees. Downtown Seattle is healthier than most cities and homelessness is less overwhelming than it was the first time I visited Seattle 30 years ago. It may be a matter of the other stores being more profitable and their overall volume has not growing in the downtown area, but also wanting to hold the lease so that competitor doesn't take it over.

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Re: Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by Brian Lutz » October 15th, 2019, 8:27 am

It may also be that the Westlake store in the Nordstrom building (which is relatively new, I believe less than 10 years old) is more profitable, and since that location is only a couple of blocks away from this one and less exposed to the crime problems around Pike Place it probably doesn't make sense to keep both of these operating. The 4th and Madison store is also pretty close to this one. They do make the claim that the operating costs of the store (specifically the cost of extra security) and shrink are costing enough that they would lose less money paying the lease on an empty store than they would to keep operating it. I've also heard of similar problems with the International District store (which typically has a uniformed police officer patrolling the store when I go there) and suspect they might be considering the feasibility of keeping that store open as well.

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Re: Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by storewanderer » October 15th, 2019, 3:04 pm

buckguy wrote:
October 15th, 2019, 6:35 am
Businesses are rarely candid about decisions like this---I just assume the story is more complicated or they might just be outright lying. Most shrink comes from employees. Downtown Seattle is healthier than most cities and homelessness is less overwhelming than it was the first time I visited Seattle 30 years ago. It may be a matter of the other stores being more profitable and their overall volume has not growing in the downtown area, but also wanting to hold the lease so that competitor doesn't take it over.
I highly doubt the chain is lying. But Target, Walgreens, and an IGA operator, among other retailers, are running similar stores on the same or immediately surrounding block, so competition is definitely there (and able to handle these issues, or does enough volume to make up for it). The IGA is in a basement which probably makes it slightly more difficult to shoplift from.

These Bartell Stores are fairly small operations (not many employees), and the homeless population in that area (as in the 2-3 block radius immediately surrounding this store) of downtown Seattle has increased substantially in the past 5 years from what it was. There are parts of downtown Seattle where the homeless population isn't; last time I was there I was in the Grand Hyatt and the 2-3 blocks surrounding it, I could count on one hand the number of homeless people I saw. But down near the Target it was another story entirely.

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Re: Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by Brian Lutz » October 16th, 2019, 12:26 pm

To give you some idea of current conditions in Downtown Seattle, this article reports on results of a recent survey of 104 property owners in King County who say that they believe that crimes are significantly underreported (mostly due to a belief that the criminals won't be prosecuted even if caught). 3 out of 4 people surveyed say that the area is less safe than it was 2-5 years ago, and 82% say they are experiencing significantly increased security costs as a result.

https://komonews.com/news/project-seatt ... -worsening

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Re: Bartell Drugs to close Downtown Seattle location due to crime

Post by storewanderer » October 16th, 2019, 11:02 pm

Brian Lutz wrote:
October 16th, 2019, 12:26 pm
To give you some idea of current conditions in Downtown Seattle, this article reports on results of a recent survey of 104 property owners in King County who say that they believe that crimes are significantly underreported (mostly due to a belief that the criminals won't be prosecuted even if caught). 3 out of 4 people surveyed say that the area is less safe than it was 2-5 years ago, and 82% say they are experiencing significantly increased security costs as a result.

https://komonews.com/news/project-seatt ... -worsening
I think people, property owners, and businesses that have long term ties to Seattle are genuinely frustrated with this situation because the city did not used to be like this or have these escalating issues, and it seems money is being spent to try and solve these problems yet it is only getting worse. The linked article with a survey of property owners says a lot. The actions of businesses say a lot.

When I saw those QFC Stores with locked and "no public restroom" and "no customer restroom" policies in areas slightly off downtown Seattle (such policies did not exist 5 years ago) I knew things must have gotten very, very bad there.

Plastic bag bans do not make it any easier for the homeless, either. The readily available plastic bags that these big cities consider a "litter problem" were a way for them to dispose of various things or by products easily, or at the very least enclose certain things or by products within a contained package.

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