Starbucks has abandoned its location inside Trump Tower, becoming the latest tenant to leave the building.
The Fifth Avenue skyscraper once hosted dozens of retailers on six floors, but the place now looks mostly like a monument to Donald Trump. Inside, there’s the Trump Store, Trump Grill, Trump Café, Trump Sweets, a second Trump Store and 45 Wine & Whiskey, a bar named in honor of America’s 45th president, Donald Trump.
A handful of independent operators still rent office space upstairs, and Gucci continues to pay big money for a storefront that customers enter from the street. But Starbucks had been the last big brand renting space inside the building’s atrium, where Donald Trump famously rode down the escalator and announced he was running for president.
The coffee chain probably wasn’t paying much in rent. Starbucks representatives did not respond to requests for comment, but Forbes estimates the company was handing over $125,000 a year for its second-floor space.
The shop shut down during the pandemic. Last fall, a red rope blocked off the entrance to the escalator leading to the store, but the atrium still featured a large Starbucks sign, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said the coffee chain was continuing to pay rent. At that point, it wasn’t clear whether the closure was temporary or permanent.
Last month, however, it seemed apparent that Starbucks was gone for good. Access to the location was still roped off, and the Starbucks sign had come down. Representatives of the Trump Organization did not respond to more recent requests for comment.
In addition to the Trump Tower location, Starbucks used to rent space inside Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel. That store similarly shut down during the pandemic, and Trump sold the property last month. The coffee chain also used to lease space in two buildings where Trump owns a 30% interest: 555 California Street in San Francisco and 1290 Avenue of the Americas in New York City. Starbucks’ online store finder only lists a shop at the Avenue of the Americas address today.
From March 2020 to April 2022, Starbucks decreased its total number of North American stores 7%, from 18,271 to 16,926.
Howard Schultz, the former CEO of the company, retired in 2018 and tossed around the idea of running for president against Trump. Schultz ultimately abandoned that plan, concluding that running as an independent might make Trump more likely to win reelection. In April, Schultz returned to the company as its interim CEO.