DENVER -- The ink! Coffee shop at 29th and Larimer streets in Denver was vandalized on Thursday after it posted a controversial sign that brought immediate backlash.
The sign, which was posted on Wednesday, said, "Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014" with the back of it reading "Nothing says gentrification like being able to order a cortado."
Photos of the sign in the historically black Denver neighborhood was quickly shared on social media and outrage was quick to spread.
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 coffee shop removed the sign on Wednesday evening.
The company denied requests for comment, but did respond on Facebook and Twitter.
"Hmmm. We clearly drank too much of our own product and lost sight of what makes our community great," according to a statement.
"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."
A Facebook event has been created inviting people to a protest Saturday afternoon.
The company's founder, Keith Herbert, issued a longer statement on Thursday apologizing for the sign.
"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," Herbert said in the statement.
He added that he interpreted it differently when the advertising firm presented the campaign to them.