On Thursday, August 24th, a note was posted on the door of Kansas City, Missouri’s Second Best Coffee, stating simply, “Closed for staff issues.” Those issues, it would later be revealed, were that nine of the ten employees of Waldo neighborhood coffee shop had unexpectedly quit en masse. The former employees allege Second Best had become a “hostile work environment.”

Second Best Coffee has operated in the Waldo neighborhood of South Kansas City since 2014.

As reported by KCUR, the closure note was the second one posted. The outgoing staff wrote the original, alleging “an escalation of toxic behavior” at the cafe.

KCUR reports former employees claim the situation has been in decline for two years. While the group has yet to release specifics of what led to the resignations, they state they have in the past raised numerous concerns and had “countless” conversations with upper management about the issues, which they allege went unaddressed.

That same day, ex-staff created the Instagram account Formerly; Baristas.

The account released an official statement on August 4th:

advert new rules of coffee now available


Dear valued customers and supporters,

It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the decision of the staff at Second Best to resign from our positions. In recent weeks, we have unfortunately witnessed an escalation of toxic behavior within our workplace. We want to emphasize that we cannot and will not tolerate such treatment. Regrettably, the environment we once cherished has transformed into a hostile one, leaving us with no option but to take this step.

This situation has arisen as a result of behaviors that have gone unchecked and our voices disregarded. We want to make it clear that we have always been committed to providing exceptional service to the community we love. However, the deterioration of our work environment has left us with no alternative but to prioritize our own well-being and mental health.

The group, which describes itself as “pro-us, not anti-them,” has stated that they will be giving more information about their untimely exit if/when they have “[made] sure all our bases are covered.”

“We are not asking [from the public] for hate [toward 2B], we are not trying to ‘cancel’ anyone, we simply are ‘pro-us’, not ‘anti-them.’”@formerlybaristas

In the meantime, one of the former Second Best baristas, Jacob Kingsley, has created a GoFundMe to help “counter the loss work and provide an average paycheck for each (former) employee.” Currently, the campaign has cleared the $8,000 by nearly $1,000.

Second Best Coffee has yet to respond to the resignations officially. A post was made on Instagram the day of the walk-out stating, “Apologies for the inconvenience but both locations of second best are temporarily closed today.” Three days prior, a similar post announced a change in shop hours due to the “team battling illness.”

Second Best Coffee could not be reached for comment.

This story is developing…

Read more:

KCUR: Employees at Second Best Coffee in Kansas City quit en masse, alleging a toxic work environment

Kansas City Star: After every employee but one walks out, Kansas City coffee shop closes temporarily

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.