A Denver coffee shop at the center of controversy was has reopened Tuesday. Protesters are outside the shop shouting things like "this is what community looks like".
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, ink! Coffee's door had a sign that read, "ink! Coffee will be closed for the Holiday weekend. Enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family. We will see you on Monday."
Groups have crowded outside the store's door multiple times to protest a different sign placed outside of ink! Coffee, last week. It read, "Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014."
ink! Coffee's founder posted on the company's Facebook page that he did not fully appreciate the very real and troubling issue of gentrification.
"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" ~ Keith Herbert Founder, ink! Coffee
The sign sparked outrage from residents of the Curtis Park and Five Points neighborhoods. They're now using the incident as a platform to combat all gentrification happening across Denver.
People who are boycotting ink! Coffee said they considered the shop being closed Monday a successful sign for their cause. It has since reopened.
"I think it was a testament to say that they understand that they understand and they've heard community voice about us not being happy with the establishment continuously being open, nor are we happy with the sign they put up," Tay Anderson, who's been helping to organize the different protests, said. "So, I claim it as a victory for this community to say we were able to keep them closed on more day and let's see if we can keep it up tomorrow."
Anderson and other people who are upset about the sign say the coffee shop shares blame for it with the advertising agency who came up with it, Cultivator Advertising and Design.
Last week, the agency posted on its Facebook page that the sign was "intended to offer a cynical perspective on the rapid development of our RiNo District neighborhood." The group says in hindsight the campaign was "callous, naive and uninformed."