On Friday, July 1, the owners of Mina’s World coffee shop — Kate Egghart and Sonam Parikh — announced in an Instagram post that the cafe on S. 52nd Street in West Philly is now closed. “We don’t have enough money to continue operating,” Egghart and Parikh wrote. The community fridge that lives out front of the shop and that is run by folks in the Mina’s World orbit will stay in operation for as long as possible.
The closure of the shop follows weeks of public conversation about how Mina’s World — a queer-owned cafe that sold fair trade coffee and locally made artisan goods and whose mission was to be a safe community space for all — operated. In June, select workers at Mina’s World took to social media to allege wage theft, with broader allegations directed at the third silent owner of Mina’s World — Egghart’s mother — regarding how she made the money to buy the building and fund the business. A portion of the conversation centered around gentrification in West Philly.
After internal trainings with the Black and Brown Workers Cooperative, Mina’s World workers publicly moved to collectivize, buy back Egghart’s mother’s ownership stake, and purchase the building, a plan that Egghart and Parikh said they were on board with in a video statement on social media. As a result, in mid-June, Mina’s World workers started a GoFundMe to raise money to buy the building, with a goal of $200,000. “The owner of the building Mina’s occupies is selling the building as a method of retaliating against the worker’s collectivizing,” the workers alliance wrote, referencing Egghart’s mother.
But before the GoFundMe could meet its goal, it was too late. (As of July 6, the GoFundMe had raised $11,000.) In a statement on Instagram, the owners of Mina’s World said that since the public accountability process began in early June, the shop had seen a significant drop in sales, so much so that the shop could no longer afford to stay open. In the statement, the owners also laid out details of how they had funded the business and paid their workers. Given the recent events, they wrote, “there is no more money to fund this business.”
Last year, Mina’s World co-owner Sonam Parikh told Eater Philly, “Mina’s World is not the perfect workspace or a queer utopia, but we’re trying to make it as harmless as a space as possible.”