JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Cinotti’s Bakery returned for its normal business hours Tuesday morning after making headlines over anti-LGBTQ social media messages posted by the owner’s wife that drew widespread backlash and a public apology from the bakery.
But one local restaurant has said it won’t be doing business with the well-known Jacksonville Beach bakery any longer.
Sub Cultured, a sandwich shop on Donner Road in Atlantic Beach, took to its social media pages Tuesday to say it was dropping Cinotti’s as a bread vendor and would be relying on The French Pantry, Village Bread and “other local bakeries” instead.
“Our goal at Sub Cultured has always been about making awesome sandwiches, while creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our employees and customers,” the shop wrote in its post. “Following recent events, many people in our community have been alienated, hurt and rightfully upset by the broadcasting of opinions that do not match ours here, at Sub Cultured. Therefore, we will no longer be serving Cinotti’s bread. We feel it is what is best for our business.”
Cinotti’s is always closed on Sundays and Mondays, and the owner, Mike Cinotti, told News4Jax the employees, including his wife, Doodle, who shared the controversial posts, were at the bakery on Monday to review and revamp the business’ social media policy.
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The bakery opened for business on Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., and News4Jax saw a handful of customers heading in to the shop not long after the doors opened.
Some customers also said they would not return to Cinotti’s after the controversy, but many others said they would still support the business, which they called a beloved fixture in the community.
The posts that sparked the backlash came from Doodle Cinotti, a vice president of Cinotti’s Bakery-Sandwich Shop. One meme described heterosexual relationships as “natural” and implied that any other types of relationships are unnatural.
Mike Cinotti, Doodle’s husband and the business owner, said the Facebook posts do not represent the store.
“What you’ve seen on social media is not a true picture of who we are,” Mike Cinotti said in an interview with News4Jax. “I would love to invite anybody to come, have a cup of coffee and sit down and find out who we really are.”
Stephen Gaskill, president of the Florida LGBTQ Democratic Caucus called the post “tone-deaf” at best and “incredibly homophobic” at worst and said it was particularly hurtful during Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBTQ community.
“Florida really is moving towards being a non-discriminatory state. We support equality. We are opposed to discrimination. And yet, we still have pockets where things like this happened,” Gaskill said. “Where this post can be posted, clearly heartfelt belief, or she wouldn’t have posted it.”
As the bakery moves on and moves forward, Mike Cinotti said he hopes people will take the apology to heart.
“First, foremost, we apologize for any for offending anybody. We never intended that. Our hearts are to serve this community,” he said. “We all make mistakes.”
Cinotti also apologized saying that anti-LGBTQ messages are not in line with their Christian beliefs.