Ink! Coffee shop’s sign about ‘gentrifying’ neighborhood brings social media backlash

DENVER -- A sandwich board sign that ink! Coffee placed outside one of its stores that boasted "Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014" brought immediate backlash in the historically black neighborhood in Denver on Wednesday.

The sandwich board sign appeared outside the location at 29th and Larimer streets in Denver.

A photo of the sign appeared on Facebook and a woman who has an office in the neighborhood shared it on Twitter.

The back side of the sign read, "Nothing says gentrification like being able to order a cortado."

People immediately took notice, and the criticism and outrage was quick to spread.

Simone Groene-Nieto wrote, "You guys really messed up. Your sign was wildly insensitive to the many many people in Denver who are [losing] their homes, their communities, to gentrification ... Your lack of compassion is nauseating."

There are hundreds of comments on Facebook and Twitter about the sign.

It has been a controversial issue in Denver and in the neighborhood.

Gentrification is defined as the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people.

It's more commonly understood to mean wealthier people moving into poorer neighborhoods, changing the cost to live there along with the culture, often pushing poorer residents out.

The sign was removed and no one from the company has responded to requests for comment.

The coffee shop posted an apology on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

"Hmmm. We clearly drank too much of our own product and lost sight of what makes our community great," the statement read. "We sincerely apologize for our street sign. Our (bad) joke was never meant to offend our vibrant and diverse community. We should know better. We hope you will forgive us."

That, too, was met with anger and criticism that went viral.

A Facebook event has been created inviting people to a protest Saturday afternoon.