Why an Indigenous Coffee Shop Is Closing After 6 Months in Phoenix: ‘We Are a Bit Too Loud’

Indigenous, queer-owned coffee shop Skoden announced on April 2 that it will close its Phoenix location inside furniture store For The People in May. Skoden owner Natasha John stated that they are not being forced to move out, as the six-month sublease they signed with For The People for the front corner of the shop in December 2023 is up. For The People co-owner Shawn Silberblatt and co-owner Chad Campbell are closing the flagship location of their furniture store and are not renewing their own lease of the space.

Skoden’s owners describe the coffee shop as an “Indigenous, femme, queer collective.” They source much of their coffee products and sell art pieces from other Indigenous businesses and artists. They have collaborated with organizations like O’odham Solidarity with Palestine and hosted a Food For Palestine event in February where 30% of sales went to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

Skoden currently occupies only a corner space inside the larger For The People store, leaving the collective with little room to host large events. Lead barista Jordan Manuelito said that they would love to have more community events hosted in a space that would better facilitate those events. John posted a fundraiser on GoFundMe on April 2 seeking $20,000 to help with the move, which would go toward a deposit for a new lease, the first month’s rent and utilities, moving costs, and any renovations needed for the new space. Any leftover money would go toward purchasing a new coffee cart.

The move announcement came on the heels of a lawsuit against Skoden following a complaint of discrimination that was filed in February. A customer alleged they were discriminated against because of their race and religion. Skoden had until March 15 to respond to the complaint, which they did via their lawyer. In a follow-up Instagram post on March 18, Skoden stated that they are not anti-white or anti-Jew.

The complaint against Skoden Coffee was followed by social media harassment, including threats against employees and negative reviews of the coffee shop. Skoden owner Natasha John hopes the move will help protect their workers from additional harassment and create opportunities to cultivate a larger, more welcoming space for the queer and Indigenous communities in Phoenix.

Read More @ azcentral

Suggested Reading