Common morning sights at Big City Coffee in downtown Boise, Idaho include students and businesspeople enjoying a cup of coffee. However, the owner of the café recently decided not to expand to a second location on the campus of Boise State University after some students complained about a flag that was being flown inside his establishment.

The flag in question was hoisted at a coffee shop located downtown. After learning of its presence, many students voiced their complaints that the Thin Blue Line flag made them feel unsafe. The contested symbol is commonly used by those who oppose the Black Lives Matter movement, and Boise State University students didn’t want to be caught in the middle of such a touchy issue. All they wanted was to feel safe while included; however, they felt as if the owner of Big City Coffee had an ulterior motive – one unpopular among college students.

Sarah Fendley (above), who owns the downtown Boise coffee shop, refused to take down her Thin Blue Line flag. She has been flying it in her shop for some time now because she wanted to honor her fiancé, Boise Police Cpl. Kevin Holtry. He was shot while on duty back in 2016 but thankfully did not succumb to his injuries.

Fendley contacted the college and asked for a release from the build-out contract of a second location. They agreed to nullify said agreement on the condition that she find another coffee shop more inclined to meet students’ desires.

Holtry, Fendley’s fiancé, said it was amazing to see all the people who showed support after sheposted about the incident on social media.

He said: “This is really touching, and it’s been a very amazing day – I’ve been here for two-and-a-half hours, and it’s been like this the entire time. It shows what a great community we have, and what people really think and what people – how they live and how they support, not just first responders but local businesses and people who really commit their lives to Boise.”

Holtry said that Fendley stopped talking to the school because an “extremely small vocal minority” spoke over her.

“There’s this misconception that [Fendley] left of her own free will, which is actually not even a half-truth, probably the eighth truth, because she knew darn good and well that she wasn’t going to get the support,” Holtry said.

The public came to the establishment in large numbers when they learned of the Thin Blue Flag Line criticism, but many neglected social distancing and wearing face masks.

After receiving a complaint, Boise Police spokeswoman Haley Williams dispatched officers to speak to the coffee shop owner about their refusal to follow the city’s mask mandate.

She stated: “When it comes to masks, we hope people will take the need to wear one seriously, and we are focused on education first and foremost. We are not encouraging people to call in complaints on individuals. If there is a complaint about masks and the situation turns confrontational, or there is further disregard for public safety, then we tell people to call the police. Again, we have not received any complaints or calls for service at Big City Coffee.”