HILLSBOROUGH, N.C.--Robbie Roberts, owner of Joe Van Gogh Coffee, based in Hillsborough, NC, today issued the following statement:
“Effective immediately, I have decided to cut my company’s ties with Duke University. I believe it’s the right thing to do to preserve Joe Van Gogh’s brand independence without conditions. I have extended jobs to our entire team at our Duke on-campus store, either at one of our off-campus locations or at our production offices. And, I have reached out to our two baristas who were provided severance so that they may either re-join Joe Van Gogh or secure employment elsewhere if they like.
“During the past several days, I have reflected on our core values and what I want to embrace and advocate as a small business owner. Joe Van Gogh has always been about bringing people together, not driving them apart. We are open to all people and we value people over our profits. We always have. For years, we have nurtured these values to the communities we serve, specifically through the strengths and talents of our staff of baristas.
“I want to thank Joe Van Gogh employees and customers and everyone who has shared their candor with me during this period. I am grateful to live in a society where all voices – positive or not -- can be heard and met with understanding. I hope that we can become a more tolerant society by working through difficulties such as this one.”