DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) — A coffee shop in Denver’s River North neighborhood was vandalized after posting a controversial sign.
The sign that was displayed outside the ink! Coffee shop at 2851 Larimer Street stated “Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014.”
CBS4 received multiple calls, emails and messages about the sign in the days before the vandalism occurred.
Gentrification is a sensitive issue for many long-time residents struggling to stay in their homes as the cost to rent continues to rise.
When we asked people on Facebook what they thought about the sign, we got comments from one end of the spectrum to the other.
“Pretty insensitive, but it’s not the end of the world. Not gonna get all worked up about it,” one person wrote.
“At least they are not in denial about it,” another said.
“Very poor taste,” someone else commented.
“Free speech. Everyone has a threshold where they are offended or take it stride,” another wrote. “Sadly though, if you know the definition of gentrification, that is exactly what has happened to Denver, and the surrounding areas.”
You can join the conversation here.
On Wednesday, the coffee shop issued a public apology on Twitter. It did not go over well with many people.
The founder of ink! Coffee later issued the following statement:
“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.”