Several East Austin businesses on Wednesday reported stickers plastered on their buildings that declared the properties to be “exclusively for white people.”
“Maximum of 5 colored customers/colored BOH staff accepted,” the stickers read, referring to the “back of house” operations at a restaurant. The stickers also displayed a City of Austin logo and claimed the message was “sponsored by the City of Austin Contemporary Partition and Restoration Program.”
The stickers appeared on multiple storefronts, including at Sugar Mama's Bakeshop, Windmill Bicycles, Rare Trends and two locations of El Chilito Tacos y Café. Store owners said they did not put the stickers on their windows themselves and have since taken them down.
Sarah Goethe, co-owner of Windmill Bicycles, said the sticker did not represent her views or the views of anyone who worked at the store.
"It clearly isn't the viewpoint of this business," Goethe said. "We've been here for two-and-a-half years. If someone wants to have a conversation about gentrification, they probably should've talked to me two-and-a-half years ago."
Goethe said she has never felt her store was unwelcome in the neighborhood and said she didn't want people to make political arguments on her storefront.
"All we're trying to do is run a business. All we're trying to do is to make it," Goethe said. "We're part of this community. We've done only good things for this neighborhood. I think that the diverse neighborhood would agree with us."
Goethe said the sticker was taken off the window before the store opened for the day and that the workday was unaffected.
"We have a lot of work to do — it's a busy time of year," Goethe said. "We just got back to work as usual."
Although Goethe said she wouldn't pursue more information about the event, other store owners expressed interest.
"Today we were the victim of what I consider to be a hate crime against our family and staff at our Eastside location," the owners of Sugar Mama's Bakeshop wrote in a post on Instagram. "I want to know who did this, why they did this."
Austin Mayor Steve Adler condemned the stickers in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
“This is an appalling and offensive display of ignorance in our city,” Adler said in the statement.
The statement, released on the City of Austin's official website, said the City did not authorize the use of its logo or sponsor the message on the stickers.
Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) also condemned the stickers in a post on her Facebook page.
"Some jokes just are not funny. If this is a joke at all, it is tasteless," she wrote. "Pardon mon française mais, I will be damned if this will occur in my House Disrtict, disrtict 46 on my watch on 12th St. in this historical Black Community or any community [sic]."