Protest held outside Denver coffee shop over controversial sign about gentrification

DENVER — Dozens of people gathered to protest outside ink! Coffee in Denver on Saturday afternoon.

The protest took place in response to a controversial sign the company posted outside of its location at 29th and Larimer streets that read, “Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014.”

Gentrification is defined as “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.”

Gentrification has become a hot-button issue in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. Denver City Council president Albus Brooks responded to the company’s sign on Facebook on Friday, calling it a “huge failure.”

Many people spoke about the problems and issues they feel strongly about in the neighborhood during the course of the protest.

“Folks are feeling like their community has changed and they are no longer welcome in this community. It’s a huge backlash,” Brooks said.

The ink! Coffee owner has publicly apologized for the sign. He has not responded to requests for an interview.

The coffee shop’s ad agency, Cultivator Advertising & Design, posted an apology to its Facebook page on Thanksgiving.

“In hindsight, our campaign was callous, naive and uninformed to the true character of the neighborhood and to those who have long called it home,” the statement read.

“We assure those within the local community and throughout Denver that the literal contents of the sign do not represent the values we hold as an agency or as individuals.”

The ad agency said it developed the campaign.

The business was is closed during the holiday weekend.