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Philly cafe closes after dispute with employees who demanded owners ‘redistribute the business’

Mina’s World, a West Philadelphia coffee shop well-known for its LGBTQ-inclusive brand, has closed after an internal dispute with employees who demanded that the owners of the cafe “redistribute” the company.

At the cafe’s grand opening in February 2020, Sonam Parikh, the co-founder and owner of Mina’s World, described the cafe as “a space for people of color” as well as “young queers, artists, musicians.” Parikh ran the company alongside partner and co-owner Kate Egghart.

The owners wrote in a Friday message posted on the cafe’s Instagram: “We don’t have enough money to continue operating. The People’s Fridge will stay in place for this moment — if we are asked to move it we find another host in West Philly. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the ways we were able to.”

This news comes after a recent dispute between the owners and their employees, who, in an Instagram post detailing their “List of Grievances,” accused the owners of ‘anti-blackness,’ ‘ableism,’ ‘exploitation,’ ‘abuse of power,’ and ‘manipulation,’ among other charges.

In the post, the employees created a “List of Demands” in which they called for (1) “Public Acknowledgement & Accountability for grievances and harm caused,” (2) “Immediate payment to staff that have had payment withheld including back pay,” and (3) “Owners redistribute the business & begin the process of transforming the business into a Co-operative.”

The workers later posted information online containing one of the owner’s personal addresses. They quickly apologized, writing in an “accountability statement” on June 20 that the member who posted the information “takes individual responsibility” for having “betrayed the trust the trust of their comrades” and “will be held accountable.”

The group also began a GoFundMe in which they accuse the owners of “selling the building as a method of retaliating against the [workers’] collectivizing,” as noted by The Philadelphia Inquirer. The funds are being raised to buy the building. As of writing, they have raised $11,219 of the $200,000 goal.

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: PHILLY EATER

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