Rainbow Lounge causes politically 'neutral' coffee shop next door to close its doors

Posted on 27 Nov 2009 at 12:33pm

Here’s an interesting little column from The Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy about how the now-world-famous Rainbow Lounge is being blamed for forcing a “family coffee shop,” the Gallery Art Cafe, to move from its location next door on South Jennings Avenue in Fort Worth. The coffee shop’s owners say they like the owners of the Rainbow Lounge, and acknowledge that said owners did everything they could to keep bar patrons out of the coffee shop’s parking lot. But ultimately it appears as though the Rainbow Lounge was generating too much trash, traffic and gay people for the coffee shop’s previous customer base, which included many churchgoers who would congregate there on Sunday mornings.  Now I don’t know much about this neighborhood, and I don’ t mean to sound crass, but ultimately I would say that maybe it serves the coffee shop right. Kennedy reports that this summer as the Rainbow Lounge started to become popular, the coffee shop refused to display posters and newspapers serving the gay community. The coffee shop’s owners explain that they wanted to remain “neutral” and were trying to stay “out of politics.” But that’s just it: As a business owner, politically neutral means you cater to the people who are most likely to spend money with you, regardless of who they are, even if that means becoming a predominantly gay coffee shop. It’s LGBT economic activism on its smallest scale, really. If you don’t accommodate us, you lose our business, and in many cases it will cost you dearly. Even one of the coffee shop’s owners, who happens to be a former Assemblies of God minister, now admits “that the decision might have been a mistake.” Gee, ya think?

P.S. — On a related note, it’s Black Friday and I just received a text message from HRC. The text says that if you text SHOP and a business name to 30644, HRC will send you the business’ equality score.

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