Philadelphia Coffee Shop That Was the Image of Inclusiveness Is Shut Down by Employees for Not Being Woke Enough

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The LGBTπ-friendly business has been consumed by employee demands of community adherence and ownership.

As a tiny business struggling to survive, you can only dream of receiving national recognition in a major news outlet. It is the kind of promotion and sense of legitimacy that any business craves, and Mina’s World, a privately owned coffee shop in the upcoming trendy section of West Philadelphia, received just that, from Bon Appetit Magazine. Opened earlier in 2020, Mina’s received a glowing feature that fall that hailed its presence and what it meant to the community.

Mina’s World is about more than just drinks and decor. It seeks to be an alternate kind of coffee shop in Philly: one that pays its employees fairly, has Black and Brown employees in managerial positions, prioritizes ethical sourcing when it comes to its coffee beans, and never turns away a customer. Most of the workplaces were really toxic in the sense that the workers were not being paid well and the white ownership neglected to protect their Black and trans employees. The whole point of Mina’s is empowering Black and Brown people, and that means those who are doing the labor are also treated with that same level of respect. We’re working all the time on making accessible price points.

Flash forward to 2022 and that notoriety led to a long-brewing tension between the owners and the employees. Charges that the business was engaged in a series of social inequities arose, and the staffers began making demands and ultimately calling for the place to become a collective. The owners, partners in life, proudly opened what they called the first QTPOC-owned coffee shop in Philadelphia. Today that employee revolt and effort to collectivize and take over the business has led to Mina’s World closing down.

So despite all the efforts made at providing properly-sourced products, locally-crafted items offered for sale, higher wages, and a focus on minority hiring and inclusion, the business came under fire from the very people to whom they were catering. Accusations by the employees ranged from “anti-blackness,” “systemic worker oppression,” and “gentrification” to “ableism.” The plan eventually became for the employees to form a collective and have the business turned over to their group.

The two owners even put out a taped message explaining themselves, and it is as illuminating as it is pathetic. In what many have described as a hostage video, the pair attest to being guilty of a number of social crimes, for the very basic act of attempting to run a business that favored displaced individuals and benefitted the community.

It is hard to even glean what they are admitting to, based on their drone-like repetition of checkbox grievances they have been presented with from the aggrieved workers. This is evidence of people trained to feel cowed by the slightest complaint, made to feel guilty by someone’s perceived offense at actions that were not genuinely offensive. These sad souls are confessing to crimes for the act of catering to the favored class, and they are now outcasts for proper actions.

AP/Reuters Feed Library

This is a shining example of what happens when you begin to cave to the most outspoken but least-equipped factions of an outrage mob. This pair did the very thing many have said — put your money behind your cause and run a business in the manner you deem appropriate. Then by giving agency to the marginalized, they were rewarded with a mounting list of more demands to accommodate the feeling of empowerment that their employees grew into.

It appears the community was tiring of this self-generated drama. In one video, a worker called on the community to endorse the business to support the employees, then was angry at the customer flight that resulted. He ultimately complained that instead of buying $50 items, customers should unrealistically just drop that sum into their tip jars. 

When it was learned that the parent of one of the partners owned the building where the coffee shop resided, the collective formed a crowd-funding to purchase the location. It was met with notable apathy, as the effort has generated about five percent of their stated funding goal. 

This is the result of a set of woke employees feeling empowered well beyond their actual possessed power, and making a series of unrealistic demands based on social perceptions. As a result of claimed oppression, they are now free from all of their listed grievances – since they are now all out of work, by their own hands. 

It is possible that Mina’s World was one of the most woke enterprises that could be created, and the fact that it has met its demise under the accusation of not being woke enough speaks volumes on the nature of the woke movement.