DENVER, Colorado -- A coffee shop in Five Points was found vandalized on Thursday morning after a controversial sign outside the store rapidly spread across social media the day before.
ink! Coffee had a sign outside their store on Wednesday that said, "Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014."
The other side of the sign said, "Nothing says gentrification like being able to order a cortado."
Gentrification is the process of renovating a district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.
Before the company shut off their reviews on Facebook, the company's rating on their page plummeted to 1.6 stars with hundreds of people filing 1-star reviews on Wednesday.
Overnight, someone vandalized the shop on Larimer and 29th and also broke a window.
For two days, Andi Todaro, has taken note of the writings at ink! Coffee shop on Larimer. She's not surprised it was vandalized with the words, "white coffee."
"You can't move into someone else's neighborhood and try not to integrate," said Todaro.
"Gentrification disproportionately impacts people of color," said Candy Cdebaca, who's helping organize a demonstration at the store Saturday.
Cdebaca said that goes for the Five Points area too, where new developments brought in rising rents and property taxes, pricing people out of their own neighborhoods.
"It's a time for us to be in community with one another and have a difficult conversation about what this sign means," she said. "We need to put in protections and opportunity for people who are not at the same income level to benefit from the changes happening."
The founder of ink! Coffee, Keith Herbert, released a statement on Thursday through ink!'s social media pages. He said,
"I have been following the comments on social media and listening to our customers, and I want you to know that I hear you. I have used the last 24 hours to listen to your perspectives, and to better educate myself on gentrification. I am embarrassed to say that I did not fully appreciate the very real and troubling issue of gentrification, and I want to sincerely apologize to those who understand firsthand the hardship and cultural consequences that gentrification has caused in the Five Points neighborhood, throughout the City and County of Denver and in communities throughout our state.
When our advertising firm presented this campaign to us, I interpreted it as taking pride in being part of a dynamic, evolving community that is inclusive of people of all races, ethnicities, religions and gender identities. I recognize now that we had a blind spot to other legitimate interpretations. I sincerely apologize - absolutely and unequivocally. Over the coming weeks and months, I will continue to educate myself and my colleagues about this issue, and we will find ways to demonstrate the depths of our contrition by taking meaningful steps to support our local community and its residents."
Before the official statement from the founder, ink! released an apology on Wednesday.
Hmmm. We clearly drank too much of our own product and lost sight of what makes our community great.— ink! Coffee (@inkcoffee) November 22, 2017
They then added, "We sincerely apologize for our street sign. Our (bad) joke was never meant to offend our vibrant and diverse community. We should know better. We hope you will forgive us."
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