An L.A. Neighborhood Is Battling A Coffee Shop Over Gentrification

Life & Culture Editor
06.23.17 25 Comments


Weird Wave coffee shop’s first day in business didn’t go well. On Instagram, one of the owners of Los Angeles’ newest coffeeshop — located in Boyle heights — wrote that he’d forgotten his keys in his other pants. And the water pump sprung a leak. Then, the author continues in a gleeful sing-song, the protesters showed up and started calling names.

“Then the cops came and everything got crazy,” the caption reads. “Then the plumber showed up at the same time! However a few local shops and friends stood up for us and the protesters left, and the plumber fixed the leak.”

The post ends with a jovial #seeyoutomorrow that can be interpreted in one of two ways: Some might see the hashtag as plucky and undefeated, a new small business trying to stay chipper in the face of adversity; others, however, especially residents of Boyle Heights fighting against gentrification, see it as a threat, another aching reminder that the coffee shop doesn’t belong.

In the week that that coffee shop’s been open, things haven’t gotten better. Protesters have lined up in front of the store and taken their anger out on Weird Wave’s social media accounts. The store’s owners, John Schwartz, Mario Chavarria, and Jackson Defa have responded by calling the cops and making flip comments on Instagram.

One photo, which captures both the storefront and a protest banner, invites people to come down and “join the #party.” On another photo, Chavarria went off on people protesting by demanding that they cut it out and buy a cup of coffee.

Today, the account posted a picture of a protester handing out leaflets. “Expecting excitement all weekend here,” the caption proclaimed cheerily.

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