On Friday, July 1, the owners of Mina’s World Café – Kate Egghart and Sonam Parikh – announced in an Instagram post that the cafe at S. 52nd Street in West Philly is now closed. “We don’t have enough money to keep working,” Jarrett and Barrick wrote. The out-of-store community refrigerator operated by the people in Mina’s World orbit will remain in operation for as long as possible.
The store’s closure comes after weeks of public talks about how to operate Mina’s World – a queer-owned café that sells fair trade coffee and locally made goods whose mission was to be a safe community space for everyone. In June, select workers at Mina’s World took to social media to claim wage theft, with broader allegations directed at Mina’s World’s third silent owner – Egghart’s mother – regarding how he made money to buy the building and fund the company. Part of the conversation centered around improvement in West Philly.
After internships with the Black and Brown Workers’ Cooperative, Mena World workers publicly moved to rally, buy back Eggart’s mother’s ownership stake and purchase the building, a plan that Ejart and Barrick said they were aboard in a video statement on social media. As a result, in mid-June, MENA World workers began a GoFundMe to raise funds to purchase the building, with a goal of $200,000. “The owner of the building that Mona occupies is selling the building as a means of revenge against the worker’s rally,” the Workers’ Alliance wrote, referring to Ejart’s mother.
But before GoFundMe could achieve its goal, it was too late. (As of July 6, GoFundMe has 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 store has seen a significant drop in sales, to the point that the store can no longer remain open. In the statement, the owners also provided details of how they finance the company and pay their workers. They wrote that given recent events, “there is no more money to fund this work.”
Last year, Mina’s World co-owner Sonam Parikh told Eater Philly, “Mina’s World is not a perfect workspace or utopia, but we try to make it as innocuous as possible.”