The Central District pushed to open a Starbucks in the ’90s. Its closure could be an opportunity to counter gentrification

In much of Seattle, and much of the world, the opening of a new Starbucks cafe rarely causes celebration or alarm.

At the intersection of 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street, in the historical heart of Seattle’s Black community, Starbucks’ arrival in 1997 provoked a lot of both. 

Now, as Starbucks prepares to shutter the store Sunday, the community wonders what comes next — a Central District outsider or a local, Black-owned business.

Change has been a constant in the Central District for a generation. Often it has come to the detriment of the Black community there.

The neighborhood, once 80% Black, is now 17%, with white people comprising 44% of the population.

Moe and Lisa Toure, owners of apparel store Toure Apparel, felt this change when they moved their business from 23rd and Jackson to the South End in 2003.

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