Waldo Coffee Shop Baristas Receive Community Support After Alleging A “Toxic” Workplace And Walking Out

Second Best Coffee in Waldo / Photo Taken By Tyler Shane

Customers of Waldo’s Second Best Coffee are showing their support for baristas who made headlines with their collective walkout Aug. 24.

A GoFundMe account set up by the coffee shop’s former staff has now surpassed its $8,000 goal. 

A group of former staff, who responded collectively and anonymously, earlier told Kansas City magazine, “The amount of support has been amazing.” 

Second Best’s owners have yet to respond to requests for comment, and details on the specific circumstances that led to the walk-out are not clear. The staff resignation sign, briefly taped to the coffeeshop’s door, cited “an escalation of toxic behavior” as the staff’s reason for leaving. The note also expressed the staff’s concern over workplace conditions and the need to prioritize their “well-being and mental health.”

The baristas did make a collective statement to KCUR, saying, “The experience of employees was that our concerns were not taken seriously and that we were made to feel unsupported and think things were changing for the better. There was a very high standard for employees and no standard or accountability — job or behavior — or structure for upper management and ownership.”

KCUR also reported that of the coffee shop’s ten employees, all but the general manager quit.

The collective of former staff said they want to make sure all their “bases are covered” before releasing further details.  Meanwhile, they’re providing updates on a new Instagram account, @formerlybaristas. The bio reads “Midwestern Accountability” (Second Best’s slogan is “Midwestern Modesty”). The Instagram account also provides a link to the GoFundMe account

According to the Instagram account, an upcoming pop-up event will supplement GoFundMe contributions.

“We do plan on sharing our stories,” an online note by former staff states, “and we ask again to keep in mind that we are speaking up not to drag anybody else down, but to lift ourselves up. We are pro-us, not anti-them.”

As of Aug. 26, Second Best Coffee is closed but will reopen on Monday, Aug. 28.

The sign on the Second Best Coffee door as of August 26. Photo taken by Tyler Shane.

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