The best way to manage the damage from a PR crisis is to avoid it altogether, right? In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it story, Starbucks scored a pre-emptive crisis comms win last Friday by closing the branch located in Newtown, Connecticut—the same town where a gunman killed 26 people, most of them schoolchildren, last December.
Why? Because several gun rights advocacy groups declared August 9th “Starbucks Appreciation Day” and planned to celebrate the fact that the company does not prohibit weapons inside its stores issue by, yes, bringing their guns to the coffee shop for a publicity stunt.
That’s not all:
Gun control advocates in the National Gun Victims Action Counsel, who want Starbucks to prohibit weapons in all locations, also planned to appear as part of their “Brews not bullets” counter-protest.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Starbucks retail EVP Chris Carr decided that it would be in everyone’s best interest to avoid what would have inevitably devolved into a problematic scene by closing the store early on Friday.
Politics aside, we can all agree that this decision helped Starbucks avoid a sticky PR situation centered on one of our nation’s most contentious subjects in a town that remains a cultural and political hot spot.
*Photo via Davis Dunavin/Newtown Patch