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"Happily Gentrifying" Isn't Well Received

TempA Denver coffee shop is facing backlash from neighbors after posting a sign outside the building: "Happily Gentrifying the Neighborhood Since 2014."

Not everyone is a fan of gentrification, which typically means higher-income shops coming into a neighborhood with increasing rents. Often the result is that people of color and with lower incomes get driven out.

The coffee shop faced a broken window, graffiti outside the building that read "White Coffee," and about 200 protestors.

After initially dismissing the complaints and calling the sign a joke, the company founder said he didn't "fully appreciate the very real and troubling issue of gentrification."  He also said, "I recognize that we had a blind spot to other legitimate interpretations. I sincerely apologize—absolutely and unequivocally."

Discussion:

  • Should the founder or store manager have know better than to post such a sign? Or was it a careless mistake? Or something else?
  • How do you assess the founder's initial and follow-up responses? How could he have demonstrated more humility?