Red Hut Coffee in Phoenix Making a Stir Even Before Grand Opening
Screenshot from facebook.com/garfieldhistoricdistrict via Niki Norriega
Red Hut Coffee, located on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Roosevelt, is brand-new to the neighborhood -- and already facing scrutiny, backlash, and a boycott after a Facebook post by owner David Marsh.
See also: 10 Best Coffee Houses in Metro Phoenix
On August 21, Marsh posted a photo on the Red Hut Coffee Facebook page with the caption "Spending the day hanging with friends at Red Hut! After this many 'non coffee' drinks, these new friends could use a nice cup of Red Hut signature blend coffee . . . black!"
The photo, which later was deleted, showed Marsh lying on the floor giving the camera a thumbs-up in front of two presumably homeless men, who appeared to be sleeping.
Screenshots of the original post and caption began circulating. By September 1, the screenshot had made its way to the Garfield District community Facebook page, where it was shared, along with a message from the admins:
"Neighbors, A new business in our neighborhood decided to publicly exploit homeless people on their Facebook page. We are sharing this photo because we are sickened by this business owners serious lack of compassion and better judgement. We are calling for a boycott of red hut coffee. There are lots of local coffee shops in this 'hood that serve great coffee and treat people with respect. Please, do not support this business. Buy local!"
This same post was later shared on the Coronado District message board, which currently has more than 500 members.
Red Hut's owner posted an apology on September 1, pictured above.
After this post, comments flooded in from both sides -- some defending Marsh, others criticizing him further for the way his apology was voiced.
Marsh made a second apology (below) on September 2. At the time we published this post, nothing had been posted since.
But the discussion didn't stop over on the Garfield District Facebook page. Admins later went in on September 2 and elaborated further on their decision to call for a boycott in a lengthy follow-up post.
Chow Bella is waiting to hear back from Marsh. We'll let you know if we do. The voicemail for the shop has not been set up yet and we hear the grand opening is scheduled for Friday, September 6. According to Red Hut's website, the shop will serve coffee drinks and self-serve frozen yogurt.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.