PARKLAND, Wash. - - Some in the Parkland community say they’re pushing back against intolerance after an African American business owner posted on social media about racial incidents at his coffee shop.
Notes Coffee Company in Parkland opened its doors last February and on this chilly day in December, some customers say they come because its welcoming, cozy and just what the community needs.
“It really is community-centered, as you can see from everybody who’s here. I really enjoy that and I think John has a great atmosphere," said David Bataer who lives in Parkland.
"They’re accommodating. The coffee is good. I love coffee," said Cinnamon Brown, a Representative for the 2nd State Legislative District.
But just a few months ago, Notes’ owner John Gore closed down the shop after a burglary and series of incidents he says are racist. He says the first incident happened back in April.
“He seemed like he was on drugs. After telling him to leave he got upset and he then called me the N word. I was on the phone at that point with the police and they were able to come out and I think they dealt with him down the street,” Gore said.
He recently posted on Facebook about other racial incidents at the shop including a group of men he believes tried to intimidate his staff by coming to an event there wearing Confederate flag t-shirts and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hats.
“When I found about this one, I said oh no, hate will not win,” Brown said.
Gore says he was encouraged by State Representative Melanie Morgan to reopen the coffee shop because intolerance is not what Parkland represents.
“We are a community that supports one another, we uplift one another and if you’ve followed the story, people have been pouring in with so much support for this coffee shop and for John," Morgan said.
“That’s not who I know this community is, who Pierce County is and Parkland. We care about people,” said Yanah Cook, a Representative for 2nd State Legislative District.
Gore says the Parkland community has made it clear they want him to stay and for that, he's grateful.
“I can’t say enough just how much it really means to me to feel appreciated and welcome," Gore said.