An Apple Store in Charlotte, North Carolina, was yesterday closed with immediate effect. It follows three recent shootings at the Northlake Mall location, the most recent of them the previous day.
Neither staff nor customers were told about the closure until the day it happened …
Even the update to the store’s webpage appears to have been rushed, with contradictory information (our emphasis):
Apple Northlake Mall
Thank you for visiting. In preparation for a new store we plan to open in the Charlotte area early next year, we will be permanently closing Wednesday, March 1st at 4pm.
All of our team members will continue to support our Charlotte customers at Apple SouthPark and the Apple Store Online. Please visit our Apple SouthPark store or apple.com/shop to shop or connect with a Specialist.
The store closed its doors for the last time at 4 p.m. yesterday, and Bloomberg reports that staff was only informed on the day.
The company informed the store’s employees on Wednesday that the location would be closing immediately, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The store was open for business Wednesday morning and a copy of its website from the previous day showed no plans for it to change business hours or close.
After employees were informed of the plan, Apple updated its website to show that the location — at the Northlake Mall in Mecklenburg County — would be shuttered permanently.
It follows three shootings at the mall in the past four months: one in December of last year, another last month, and a third one on Tuesday. Fox News reports on the shootings.
[There has been] a string of shootings at the mall since Dec. 15 – two of which taking place within the past month, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
During the December shooting, two people were struck by gunfire around 3 p.m. after a fight escalated inside the mall. On Feb. 5, one shot was fired inside the mall under similar circumstances, resulting in two injuries that were not gunshot wounds.
On Tuesday, the shooting took place outside the mall near Macy’s. There were no injuries reported.
Bloomberg sources said that the shootings “contributed” to the decision to close the store, though plans for a new Charlotte store were already in hand.
Reading between the lines, it seems likely that Apple planned to open the new store and close the Northlake Mall one at the same time, but staff and management concerns about the shootings led the company to bring forward the closure.
Fortunately, no employees are being laid off: Apple told Bloomberg that all the staff from the store are being transferred to other roles, either at the remaining Charlotte Apple Store, at SouthPark, or working online.
“In preparation for a new store we plan to open in the Charlotte area early next year, we will be closing Apple Northlake on March 2,” the company said in a statement. “All of our team members will continue to support our Charlotte customers at Apple SouthPark and the Apple store online.”
It’s likely that some or all of those staff will be transferred to the new store, when it opens.
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