Wichita Falls-based coffee shop, Frank and Joe’s Coffee House. (Bailey Graham)
Wichita Falls-based coffee shop, Frank and Joe’s Coffee House.

Bailey Graham

OPINION: Frank & Joe’s: Diversity is NOT a Priority

February 28, 2021

*Columns are the opinions of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wichitan as an organization.*

I have been going to the Frank & Joe’s coffee house for years. My friends and I always meet up to grab a coffee and update each other on life, so this shop has always felt like a second home. Recently, F&J introduced their brand ambassadors on their Instagram page and explained how all their ambassadors are women. I was happy to see young women represent the brand, but I couldn’t help but notice the lack of diversity in their choices. All of the ambassadors are very similar in skin tone and stature. There were no plus-sized girls or people of color/dark skin tone. I was surprised to see a business that tries to appeal to younger audiences miss providing diversity within their brand.

I would like to state that it is not my intention to disrespect the current ambassadors in any way, rather, I am condemning Frank & Joe’s for not creating a diverse ambassador team. In this day and age, proper representation is becoming an important part of society, from movies to influencers. When I first saw the brand ambassadors, it bothered me greatly and I debated whether or not to contact them about my concerns. I tried to ignore my thoughts and go on about my day, but I continuously had nagging thoughts. I told myself no harm would be done if I expressed my concerns, and nothing would be done if I didn’t say anything. So I sent them a direct message on Instagram.

I tried to sound as professional as possible since I just wanted to state a concern without any issues. I expressed how I know both Wichita Falls and F&J would benefit from seeing different cultural backgrounds. Their response was unexpected and led me to press further into the issue. F&J stated that they searched for junior girls from six local high schools to represent their brand. Out of all the ambassadors, F&J stated three girls are Hispanic. They said their photographer’s team reached out to these schools asking for recommendations on local high school juniors who would be good for the position but received zero responses. I expressed my confusion to them and said how odd it was that out of six schools there were no dark-skinned or plus-sized girls recruited as ambassadors. Instead of addressing this statement, F&J responded with, “Girls that are interested are very different from no girls.” This simply proves that their priority was just to recruit female ambassadors, not about whether the team is diverse enough. Having girls represent the brand is a great idea, especially since the brand is woman-owned, but having three Hispanic girls does not make a team diverse. This fact shows that diversity and inclusion was not a priority when F&J was choosing ambassadors.

Some people may think I’m overreacting since this is just a local coffee shop, but if Frank & Joe’s goal is to have women represent their brand, why not include different types of women? Leaving out minority women in representation is not proper representation. Women of all backgrounds deserve to see representation by women like them, even from a local coffee house.

35 Comments

35 Responses to “OPINION: Frank & Joe’s: Diversity is NOT a Priority”

  1. DO BETTER on March 1st, 2021 6:14 PM

    Lots of Facebook arguments going on about this. Thank you for writing this. It’s important work. We must continue calling out business for their lack of effort in creating a world that represents all. But honestly, F&J, a simple “we will do better” would have sufficed. Defensiveness is not a good look. Maybe you should have hired a PR person instead. Whoops.

  2. Lindsay on March 1st, 2021 8:24 PM

    You cannot be serious. 3 Hispanic women is not diversity? NO OTHER GIRLS WERE INTERESTED!! I am not sure what is unclear about that?!? In the time it took you to make this out to be racial injustice, you could have done something good for someone else and been the “change” you want to see in the world.

  3. Amy S. on March 1st, 2021 8:26 PM

    I’m curious if you asked the entire process for how or why these girls were chosen. Could there have been criteria that you are unaware of? Could they have been chosen because of work ethic, activities they are involved in, or their values? Do you know any of these girls personally? Do you know where they come from, their background, their work ethic, their involvement in their schools or their communities? All things I’m wondering if you asked about before writing your article.
    Diversity encompasses all kinds of things, not just shape and skin tone. It includes age, education, religion, socioeconomic status and a host of other things. And even though you say in your article that you don’t intend to disrespect the girls who are serving as ambassadors, without knowing any or them personally, you did exactly that.

  4. Carol Davis Davis on March 1st, 2021 9:03 PM

    I honestly cannot believe that you do not have anything better to do than this. Do you not think our world is crazy enough right now that you need to find something else to write about? How dare you make it your business how anyone runs their business. If you cannot say anything positive maybe you need to go on down the road. You must have serious problem. This is a wonderful group of people. Owning your own business is not easy. Pleasing everyone is impossible. Hard for me to believe that you cannot do
    Something else to take up your time than worry about a fantastic business that works so hard daily pleasing people and trying to make a go of a self owned local great business. My brother has a business here in WF and let me tell you it’s not easy. You need to mind your own business and apologize to this great business for your actions. Good Lord why don’t you try to run a business and please people. Bet you could not. Go away!!!!!!! My Mother always said mind your own business and if you cannot say something nice keep your mouth shut.

  5. Tony owens on March 1st, 2021 9:41 PM

    Sounds like you really don’t care in the “best person for the job”, I’m sure you also think a participation trophy is a good idea, you are exactly what is wrong in the world today, to you it doesn’t matter if a person is smart, well spoken, well mannered or is just simply right for the job, race baiting is wrong, and it’s exactly what you are doing, I would definitely say these same words if these people were black, would you?

  6. Alyssa Villanueva-Nolan on March 1st, 2021 9:49 PM

    I fully agree with this! It’s good that you reached out to them. Hopefully this will make them be more aware of their future decisions.

  7. Required on March 1st, 2021 9:50 PM

    Boooooooooooooooooo

  8. Mary Brown on March 1st, 2021 10:09 PM

    This is the most ridiculous article I’ve read in a long time. It’s not written to inform or being some kind of change. It is written to incite and create negativity toward a local business that does so much to help the community! Shame on you!!!

  9. David Ruhe on March 1st, 2021 10:37 PM

    As a small business owner, correct me if I’m wrong, it appears that you want F&J to spend more money recruiting ambassadors.
    There is only so much a business can spend on recruiting. If this is important enough perhaps an outside source of funds can be given to F&J to insure that diversity is achieved. My problem is companies that think the world can change by me being “less white”. We are the Human Race.

  10. Patti Franklin on March 2nd, 2021 6:21 AM

    Dallas, I suggest you look up the word “”condeming”. You have no right to condem anyone.

    As I said on my FB page , this culture cancel crapola is much ado about nothing. As you mature hopefully you will choose your battles more seriously. In reality, your article is canceling my culture as a white woman. I was born white, will not apologize for it. . Can’t begin to tel! you how many jobs I have lost to a black person because of affirmative action. Even jobs to someone bilingual which is totally against Title VII of the Labor laws. Bilingual hire is only legal if your business’s customers speak Spanish as a whole. Did you know that in some parts of Michigan the cities hire bilinguals that speak Farsi? Do you speak Farsi? This is America , people need to speak English in order to work here. As I said, it is our law.

    If you cannot see that you are guilty of the very thing that you are accusing this business of then you are willfully blind. White people have a right to work too.

  11. Elisa Henkel on March 2nd, 2021 7:36 AM

    Please stop with the diversity stuff! You are overreacting and the fact that you posted this is appalling. Leave well alone. You have no idea what there policy is. Instead of reacting why don’t you go to the Manager and talk to them personally instead of assuming how they handle there Business.

  12. Dawn Rabideau on March 2nd, 2021 7:53 AM

    Just like I would never not hire someone for their skin color, I also would not hire because of their skin color. Make sense? I don’t care about skin color.
    I care about the criminal background checks, appropriate licenses, task related skills, qualifications, personality, and their reflection on social media. If the right people don’t apply I will never know who they are so the interest also has to come from their end.
    With all of that said, this is ridiculous. If they don’t match the qualifications and then apply, they don’t get the job.

  13. Dawn Rabideau on March 2nd, 2021 8:10 AM

    As a small business owner I know the challenge of finding both qualified, and willing diligent workers.
    It is not about skin color.
    First; The applicant needs to have the qualifications including necessary permits, licenses and so forth, for the job, whatever it may be.
    Second; The applicant needs to be interested in the position being filled.
    Third; The applicant must be committed to learn and proficiently perform the tasks involved as well as line up with the businesses practices and policies.
    Notice; ‘The applicant’
    Whether the business is recruiting or taking applications, lets us not forget that at some point it’s going to be important that people actually apply for the position so that the owner or management team will even know who those people are.
    We cannot help who does and doesn’t apply for a position.

    This appears to be another scene from ‘I’m a victim.’

  14. Bethany Moore on March 2nd, 2021 8:35 AM

    Representation MATTERS!! It is also the definition of the word ambassador(a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity). For those who state this is race related, pull out your dictionaries.. The definition of diversity is variety; including people from a range of social, ethnic, genders and sexual orientation.
    When you have lived your entire existence being REPRESENTED then it will always be construed others are stirring the pot when they are questioning the lack thereof. So to the author of this article, kudos to you for getting into good trouble , necessary trouble.

  15. Tom Johnston on March 2nd, 2021 9:32 AM

    This article is a great example of sexism and racism! When you only view someone and their worth based on Sex or Race you my friend are now a sexist racist enjoy~!

  16. Asmiller on March 2nd, 2021 1:33 PM

    This article is disgusting, find something better to write about other than trying to ruin the reputation of a great locally owned business

  17. James on March 2nd, 2021 2:28 PM

    Not sure if anyone saw, but F&J has a “Women you should know” mug out right now in honor of International Women’s Day that released today. I’m going to “assume” that these mugs have been printed for awhile now and released today. The mug has ALL kinds of women featured. I’m betting that this mug was planned well in advance of this article.

  18. Uniqua Martinez on March 2nd, 2021 4:00 PM

    Personally I also spoke to the manager on the same topic and got the same response, so all of y’all saying she is overreacting maybe should open your eyes and realize that everyone can have their own opinions….YeAhhhhhh!!!

  19. Justamom on March 2nd, 2021 4:07 PM

    We all have OPINIONS!!! There’s an old saying …. “Opinions are like buttholes EVERYONE HAS one”

    However we live in a world of “ that ain’t FAIR” it’s all about ENTITLEMENT!!! With that being said….

    Each young lady was give the OPPORTUNITY TO APPLY TO BECOME AN AMBASSADOR… Nothing was based on SIZE, skin color or even appearance!!! You simply Submitted the form you didn’t submit a picture of yourself!!! So this is an article attacking a business simply FOR ENTITLEMENT OR WAS IT ENTERTAINMENT? Want a rise you got it!!! Sure my daughter is An ambassador for Frank &!Joes and no one knows because it’s NOT AN ISSUE but “ SHES part MEXICAN “ why does everything have to be about race , and appearance??? We are raising young women in a harsh world!!! This is a prime example of that!!!! Spread LOVE NOT HATE!!!! Thank you FRANK & JOES FOR LOVING YOUNG WOMEN!!! What an amazing opportunity for these young ladies this far!!!! You have our continued SUPPORT!!! We loved y’all before this opportunity!!!!

  20. Melissa Miller on March 2nd, 2021 7:20 PM

    I wasted 2 minutes of my life reading this article.

  21. Joe Miller on March 2nd, 2021 7:53 PM

    This is the stupidest thing I’ve seen lately. I own a business and all of my employees are white. It’s not because I’m not diverse it’s because nobody of color has asked me for a job. You can’t just look at a business and think…. oh their all white, that have to be racist.

  22. Jess on March 2nd, 2021 8:53 PM

    I am a highschool student and it was not advertised or I offered to any of the highschools and the manager I talked to even said she reached out to a specific group.So not every girl had a “equal opportunity” and a lot of you shouldn’t talk down on the matter because you don’t know how it’s like to not have representation for the black community or so forth. This has been happening for years and I know it’s not “always about race” but in a world we live in today it’s become a large issue.

  23. Jess on March 2nd, 2021 8:54 PM

    I am a highschool student and it was not advertised or I offered to any of the highschools and the women I talked to even said she reached out to a specific group.So not every girl had a “equal opportunity” and a lot of you shouldn’t talk down on the matter because you don’t know how it’s like to not have representation for the black community or so forth. This has been happening for years and I know it’s not “always about race” but in a world we live in today it’s become a large issue.

  24. It’s just an article on March 2nd, 2021 9:12 PM

    The position wasn’t offered to other groups or girls and I know for a fact shoot I know people who are close to the owners and they even said that SHE reached out to girls that she wanted …..so good try also all the parents who are offended calm down she disagreeing with the process not bashing your daughter.

  25. Lauren on March 3rd, 2021 12:32 AM

    This article is absolutely ridiculous and I am starting to become ashamed of being apart of a generation that is reaching for issues to address when they have blinders on. F&J gave equal opportunity to anyone (no matter which race or pants size they are) the chance to represent their company. You cannot ignore the facts that 75% give or take of WF community is white and you cannot blame a SUCCESSFUL business on who applied for this opportunity and who didn’t. EVERYTHING these days is about race and it’s absolutely ridiculous. Should the world be more equal? OF COURSE! But reaching for an issue without learning the facts is just absolutely absurd! Find something else to put your time and energy into, besides trying to tear down a business that does so much for our community. Your words can speak loud on issues that ACTUALLY exist, use them wisely… This article is idiotic.

  26. MyOpinionMatters on March 3rd, 2021 6:42 AM

    This breaks my heart. F&J does not discriminate. They hire Black/White/Hispanic gay/straight/bi introverted/extroverted people based on QUALIFICATIONS not based on skin tone or size. As you clearly mentioned, they REACHED OUT to the Local High School and got ZERO response. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Why attack a small business that literally does so much in the community. She organizes things for the local police, blood banks, even does things like donation of a portion of sales to local places like she did for that boy who had an accident over the summer. These are not things ANYONE “has” to do, they CHOOSE to because they believe in equality. Now you wanna attack her, why? Because she didn’t meet the “status quo” of what your OPINION thinks is ok? No! This is exactly why our country is getting so divided! I am not raising my kids to feel entitled because they are black anymore than I raise them to feel less superior because of that same reason. I raise mine to believe in themselves, respect others and themselves, and love!

    Sincerely,
    A STRONG BLACK WOMAN RAISING STRONG BLACK WOMEN AND MEN

  27. Ashlyn Robinson on March 3rd, 2021 8:00 AM

    I agree with the point completely,but this wasn’t the way to go about it. I’m African American and we do need more representation don’t get me wrong but the thing is about business if you want people from different backgrounds and different parts of town to come in they need someone that can relate with them representing the brand. So if you want people on East Side or Hirchi coming in you NEED A GIRL FROM HIRCHI….I don’t want the current ambassadors to feel bad because they are doing a great job it’s just diversity is important.If it wasn’t then life wouldn’t be the way it’s is now

  28. Ashlyn Robinson on March 3rd, 2021 8:07 AM

    Some of the things I’m reading in the comments are really sad. You do understand after the chaos we had last year diversity is important. No one is hating on the girls she just saying that the process was in her opinion flawed. A lot of you parents need to understand that from your point of view it may not be an issue so if you disagree keep it positive. Darkness cannot drive out darkness on light can do that;hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that. This is heart breaking

  29. Maverick on March 3rd, 2021 12:21 PM

    The owners would tell the single WOC that her friends could apply for the kitchen, but not as someone who worked on the registers. I worked there for a loooong time, this article doesn’t surprise me at all.

  30. LetsBeReal on March 3rd, 2021 2:11 PM

    So much cruelty. It reveals the condition in where we are as a society at this time. I as a black, plus sized women appreciate the courage you had to state your observation. The evidence is in the deflection, there is no right way to educate the public especially if they cannot find fault or even contend with how they did it wrong. Bringing light to these issues are vital to change and I hope Frank & Joes will begin to showcase women of all shades, sizes and walks of life; even if at first try they got it wrong. SO much room for improvement!

  31. Aurion Jordan on March 3rd, 2021 2:59 PM

    I have only visited F&J one time. Upon arrival I noticed no one in the establishment looked like me. Although the staff is very nice that still does not overshadow the lack of diversity at their establishment. I have noticed the lack of diversity at a few businesses in Wichita Falls, Texas and I am glad someone finally chose to speak up about it.
    Having three Hispanic ambassadors is not enough. I support establishments that mirror the world we live in. Representation matters!

  32. Not surprised on March 3rd, 2021 3:11 PM

    I’m not surprised. Frank and Joes always gave me a bad vibe anyways.

  33. Raven on March 3rd, 2021 5:39 PM

    From what I read this was a volunteer type thing and especially when going for highschool girls a lot of them won’t be interested if it was by application/recommendation very few people from diverse backgrounds would even want to apply now if there was proof of them denying diversity that would be different, however the ambassador went to people who wanted it. I think the bigger problem is with the schools not Frank&Joe’s

  34. Jody on March 5th, 2021 11:04 AM

    Its not a business responsibility to force interest from “diverse candidates” when hiring. Unless you have proof that they intentionally overlooked, or did not hire, candidates because of their ethnicity, they have done absolutely nothing wrong, and you are just a nosy busy body with no life, seeking attention. If I were the owner, I would sue for liable.

  35. Anonymous on March 5th, 2021 9:41 PM

    As a former F&Js employee, I think this article was absolutely ridiculous. Jessica goes above & beyond for all her employees. This sounds very out of context. Jessica has always showed praise when it’s due and clearly chose those employees for a reason.

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