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New Anti-Gentrification Signs Demand, 'White People Out of Pilsen'

By Stephanie Lulay | October 26, 2015 6:21pm | Updated on October 26, 2015 6:28pm

Bow Truss Coffee Roasters in Pilsen was again hit with anti-gentrification signs, this time on stickers reading "White people out of Pilsen." [Phil Tadros]

PILSEN — Anti-gentrification signs have again popped up at Bow Truss coffee shop on 18th Street, this time reading: 'White people out of Pilsen!"

The coffee shop, at 1641 W. 18th St., has been vandalized five times in the last two or three weeks, Bow Truss owner Phil Tadros said Monday. The latest anti-gentrification messages, posted sometime late Sunday or early Monday, are in the form of stickers fashioned to look like the Chicago flag.

In January, anti-gentrification signs reading "Fresh Roasted Gentrification Served Here!" and "Wake up and smellllll the gentrification" were plastered over the windows at Bow Truss. The next weekend, the shop was hit again, prompting the Chicago-based owner to ask those targeting his store to come forward and talk about the polarizing issue.

Stephanie Lulay says Bow Truss' business continues to grow:

On Monday, Tadros renewed that call. To date, nobody has claimed responsiblity for the signs, he said.

"They're racist," he said of the stickers. "A lot of hate is ignorance. I think the conversation needs to be had, and I think that the person who is doing this, if your goal is to get something productive to happen, shoot me an email."

Bow Truss Coffee Roasters in Pilsen was again hit with anti-gentrification graffiti. [Phil Tadros]

Tadros said he never expected to be the target of the neighborhood's anti-gentrification message because his Bow Truss business — and the cost of the coffee he sells — is designed to treat coffee farmers fairly.

"We are a local small business," Tadros said in January. "It's interesting for me to have [people calling the coffee] overpriced. We have direct trade agreements with farms in Mexico and other countries, so they can take better care of the farms, their product and pay people properly." 

Bow Truss' Pilsen location hires locally, and his other coffee shops, located across Chicago, employ people "of every race and religion," said Tadros, whose family is from Jordan in the Middle East.

"We're actually not a problem, and if they think that we are, let's have a conversation about it," Tadros said. "I don't believe I'm responsible for bringing negativity to somebody's life when there is so much good that we're doing."

PREVIOUSLY: Pilsen's Gentrification Debate Began Well Before Bow Truss Coffee Moved In

While the coffee shop is part of the latest wave to spark attention, the gentrification debate in Pilsen has been brewing for decades. 

Despite the signs, Tadros said sales at the shop increase every month.

"Let's get [these concerns] out in the open," Tadros said. "It's unrealistic to think that we're going to close and leave."

Bow Truss Coffee Roasters opened in Pilsen in August 2014.

Tadros also owns Bow Truss coffee shops in Lakeview, River North, Logan Square, the Loop, and has plans to open more shops in Roscoe Village, Old Irving Park, Evanston and Beverly Hills, Calif.

The news was first reported by Eater.


Bow Truss Owner To Those Behind Anti-Gentrification Signs: Let's Talk

Bow Truss Says It's Bringing Good Coffee - Not Gentrification - to 'Hoods

Anti-Gentrification Posters Target Bow Truss Coffee Shop in Pilsen

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