A coffee shop targeted by protesters after a message about gentrification struck a nerve in a rapidly changing city remained closed Monday despite an apology and plans to reopen after the holiday weekend, the AP reports. Last week, Ink! Coffee displayed a sidewalk sign that said "Happily Gentrifying the Neighborhood Since 2014" outside a store in a historically diverse neighborhood near downtown Denver. Outrage over the message, fueled by anger over a city being dramatically transformed by an influx of newcomers, quickly spread on social media. A window was broken at the shop and "White Coffee" painted on the building and about 200 people protested there Saturday.
The Colorado chain initially called the sign a bad joke but later founder Keith Herbert explained it was part of an advertising campaign. In a statement, he said he saw the campaign as a way to take pride in being part of a "dynamic, evolving community" that is inclusive but was now embarrassed to say that he did not "fully appreciate the very real and troubling issue of gentrification." A sign posted on the door of the shop said it would reopen Monday. No one answered the phone at the shop or company's office and an email seeking an explanation was not returned. Merriam-Webster tweeted that searches for "gentrification" and "gentrify" on its online dictionary rose 2,500 percent Monday following media coverage of the controversy.
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