Owner speaks out after Browne’s Irish Marketplace vandalized with ‘Immigrants not welcome’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The country’s oldest Irish business is located here in Kansas City, and someone left the owners of Browne's Irish Marketplace a nasty message Monday.

Owner John McCain didn’t notice the words when he first got to work.

“I had a customer come in today and said, ‘I’m sorry about your building.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?” McCain said.

Someone used black spray paint to mark the words “immigrants not welcome” on the side of the building at 33rd and Pennsylvania.

“It’s just infuriating. Not only the amount of time it’s going to take to correct the problem -- it’s against everything we believe in. We’re just not that kind of people," McCain said.

 

When George Vial became a citizen last year, after immigrating from Ireland two decades back, there was only one place to celebrate. Browne’s, of course.

“You come in here, you meet folks from Scotland, from France, from South America," he said. "It’s just a real welcoming, loving place, and this is just horrendous that this has happened to this building.”

Both men blame ignorance, lack of education, stupidity really.

“It says up there 1887. It’s not like the Brownes just arrived the other day. They’ve been here for a long time,” Vial said, pointing to a sign outside.

Four generations in fact. McClain and his wife Kerry have run her family’s business for almost 40 years.

“I felt like it was very direct," McClain said. "I can’t imagine, I mean, why? My wife’s grandfather and great grandfather were both immigrants.”

He believes social media plays a role in what seems to be a sense of entitlement in today's world.

"More social media now, everybody has their bully pulpit or message that they can convey, and it doesn’t matter if it’s accurate. They just go off on certain things, and I think people get brainwashed by these things," he said. "If you think about half the stuff people say or has been done, if anybody took half a minute to think about it, they’d realize how stupid it really is."

“When you come here from another country, you adopt America and it adopts you, and it becomes your heart and soul. And when you see this kind of hatred, that’s not what America’s about,” Vial said.

The owner said it’ll probably take about 12 hours of his time to clean up the side of the building.