DENVER (CBS4) – Protesters gathered outside the Ink! Coffee shop in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood as it reopened Tuesday morning.
The shop at 28th and Larimer was vandalized at least twice after posting a sign last week that stated, “Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014.”
The sign sparked protests over the holiday weekend and again Monday and Tuesday mornings.
Gentrification is a sensitive issue for many long-time residents struggling to stay in their homes as the cost to rent continues to rise.
A sign posted on the door stated the coffee shop was closed for the holiday weekend and would open Monday but it remained closed until Tuesday morning.
Protesters outside the shop on Tuesday morning said they’d seen five customers go inside – and one had a police escort.
“Of course they have to eventually open their doors and generate business. The point of any active boycott is to have a financial impact on that business so that the company feels it when it hits most and that’s in the Benjamins,” said protester Brian Loma.
Last Wednesday, the coffee shop issued a public apology on Twitter. It did not go over well with many people.
The founder of ink! Coffee 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.”