DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) — A coffee shop in Denver’s River North neighborhood was vandalized after posting a controversial sign.

ink coffe vandalism Coffee Shop Vandalized After Posting Gentrification Joke

(credit: CBS)


The sign that was displayed outside the ink! Coffee shop at 2851 Larimer Street stated “Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014.”

ink Coffee Shop Vandalized After Posting Gentrification Joke

(credit: Kasey Learned/CBS4)

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.

RELATED: ‘Gentrification Is Very Real’: Cold Crush Bar Shut Down

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.”


Comments (10)
  1. Gentrification is a process of renovation of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of the influx of more affluent residents.[1][2] This is a common and controversial topic in politics and in urban planning. Conversations surrounding gentrification have evolved, as many in the social-scientific community have questioned the negative connotations associated with the word gentrification. One example is that gentrification can lead to community displacement for lower-income families in gentrifying neighborhoods; however, every neighborhood faces unique challenges and reasons for displacement vary. Generally, gentrification is considered to improve the neighborhood for the people moving into the area.

    Making a neighborhood better is bad?

  2. Gene Raley says:

    Gentrification occurs when the lack of property ownership takes place in a given neighborhood. The occupants of that neighborhood have little or no interest in being accountable and taking the commitment of property ownership. No need to get your panties in a wad because you are being sent to the netherlands and to continue to wallow in the environment that you have created for yourself.As gentrification occurs, the occupants of that changing neighborhood have choices to make, move or be forced out.

  3. Checked wikipedia and urban Dictionary on gentrification. Actually a nice joke based on who wrote it. Gentrification is just the process where really poor neighborhoods first get an influx of business that take it to the stage of being a middle class neighborhood. The only way you see this as a bad joke is to believe that a poor neighborhood should remain the same and doesn’t want to get better. This looks like the nicest building on a drab street. It in itself is a place for jobs and community. Where gentrification goes bad is at the last stage. When a neighborhood becomes middle class there are people from the old neighborhood who either want a poor neighborhood (i.e. criminal types who prey off that), or cannot make the step up to the middle class . These people have to move to other pre-gentrified neighborhoods.
    But there is the crux. You can blame the prettiest store for trying to improve the neighborhood, and you can drive them away. Or you can embrace your gentrification so that you stop the true vultures that prey on the small with false promises, like that chump.

  4. For heaven’s sake. People get their panties in a bunch over the silliest things these days.
    God forbid someone should make a joke. At least they are trying to help rehab a run-down neighborhood – or would it be better to leave it as-is, as sort of a monument to decay?

  5. Gentrification sucks. I support squalor.

  6. It’s really a shame that progress in America has been reduced to a zero sum game. Gentrification and progress bring opportunity and opportunity brings a chance for all boats to rise. Now, before you say it, I do realize that opportunity is not the same for all in America, and that is the real problem. Instead of attacking gentrification and progress, we need to attack the root causes of inequality and make opportunity truly color blind. The America I believe in guarantees equal opportunity regardless of race, creed, color, sex, etc. But it also still strives for progress and advancement!

  7. John Yaeger says:

    Gentrification: white people reclaiming the neighborhoods and buildings their grandparents built.

  8. Matt Dillon says:

    The real reason, the only reason large US cities have revitalized themselves, gentrification, yuppies more in, poor and middle income people move out. It’s an old game and it’s happening all over the world. This is not progress, this is just greed and Americans have made an art of it. The thing is, poor and middle income Americans still vote and if 80% of the population is being left behind, that doesn’t bode well for the 20% that are getting ahead.

  9. Alice Estes says:

    So, I guess it’s better to let a neighborhood deteriorate beyond repair and let the crime spree begin?!?! What a bunch of dumba$$ people who can’t see the benefits of gentrification!!!!

  10. Alton Crisp says:

    If anyone wants to rage about gentrification, take a look at what’s happening to Sun Valley. This is a very poor neighborhood near Mile High Stadium that is targeted for “renewal”. CDOT is building its new headquarters there. The average rent in Sun Valley is about $450 per month. As this “renewal” takes place some of Denver’s poorest residents will be pushed out.

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