- The Washington Times - Friday, November 24, 2017

A coffeeshop that boasted on an advertisement that it had been “happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014” has been vandalized, the Denver Post reported Thursday.

The ink! Coffee store in the Denver’s Five Points neighborhood had a window smashed and was tagged with graffiti sometime overnight Wednesday, the Denver Post said. The vandal(s) wrote “White Coffee,” in black spray paint on the building’s red facade, a photo by the Denver Post shows. 

Earlier this week the 16-location ink! Coffee chain faced a backlash on social media after a Twitter user posted a photo complaining about a sandwich board advertising the Five Points location, which boasted that the hipster hangout had been “happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014.”

The opposite side of the same sign reportedly read, “Nothing says gentrification like being able to order a cortado,” a reference to a drink item on the menu comprised of a double espresso with 3 ounces of milk, according to the store’s official website.

“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,” said ink! Coffee founder Keith Herbert in an apology posted Thursday on the company’s Facebook page.

“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,” Mr. Herbert explained. “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.”

But that apology was not enough for critics both on and offline, with a “We Don’t Drink Ink” protest in the works for Saturday  afternoon, according to the Denver Post. “More than 440 people had confirmed they plan to attend the event by Thursday afternoon,” the paper said.

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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