My name is Claudia Cooper, and I am the founder and owner of Guglhupf Bakery. As a woman and a native of another country, I chose to open my business here in Durham 18 years ago because I found a community open, accepting, and inclusive – much like the one in which I was raised. While I have always run this business free from the rancor of religion and politics, I must now take a stand against HB2. The political course of North Carolina as a state over the last several years alarms me due to the divisive and discriminatory direction of some legislation.
For 18 years I have served this community with the best product I can muster and with the best staff I can provide by supporting every walk of life lead by every employee we entrust with our reputation on a day-to-day basis.
This is a small business.
We are family.
Last Sunday I was presented with an emotionally-charged ultimatum in the heat of the moment. I was forced to make a decision that affects my entire business, and all the employees who make it possible. I chose to respect all of them by not bending to the desires of two employees demanding that I act without thought or in full-consideration of the ramifications of the actions they supported. They have chosen to act in a manner that can be seen as destructive to my business, and I feel that at this point I must speak publicly.
I abhor HB2 and all the ways it divides people. I would not vote for this law, and I will work to change the direction of the legislative bodies of NC so that the future is a more inclusive one for everyone. In January I became an American citizen so that I can vote.
And I will.
I agree and echo the position of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Durham Tourism Development Authority on behalf of my restaurant.
Guglhupf Bakery strongly opposes HB2, which opens the door to discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and denies them legal protection from prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
We believe the citizens of Durham overwhelmingly reject discrimination and support protecting the basic human rights of all people. Durham’s success is built on acceptance and celebration of people from all backgrounds and beliefs. Durham has a long history of embracing diversity and inclusivity and will remain a welcoming, accepting, LGBTQ-friendly community.
We also have concerns about the economic impact on our local businesses and their employees because HB2 contains provisions that may impede the ability of local elected officials to establish policies related to living wage and other issues they deem important.
As we stand against this legislation, we want to ensure that everyone feels as welcomed as possible in our establishment. We would love to create an environment where we could all act like quality citizens and use the restroom respectfully. However, we have physical constraints on our public restrooms that do not allow us to make them open to everyone to use as they see fit.
Because of the capacity of our establishment, and to maintain compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, we must maintain separate, and gender specific, facilities by laws irrespective of HB2.
However, Guglhupf does have three single-occupancy employee restrooms that are unisex. Please know that any customer who asks for access to one of those will be taken to one respectfully, privately, and with full consideration of their needs. We cannot make them public bathrooms, but we will make them accessible to anyone in need.
We Are Not This. Not now, not ever.
This law upsets everything about the way I live my life, and I want everyone to know that you are welcome in this establishment. You have my word that regardless of your support or dislike of HB2, we care for all employees and customers equally and we thank you for your patronage over the last 18 years and hope to welcome you all for decades to come.