Japadog closes Richmond Ikea stand after online shaming

A Vancouver hot dog chain has bowed to public pressure to close a temporary location in Richmond, B.C., after customers complained about it crossing a picket line.

Workers have been on strike at Ikea's Richmond, B.C., location since May 13

Popular street food chain Japadog sells 'Japanese-style hot dogs,' seen here at a well-known Vancouver location on Burrard Street. (Japadog/Facebook)

A Vancouver hot dog chain has bowed to public pressure to close a temporary location in Richmond, B.C., after customers complained about it crossing a picket line.

Japadog had planned to sell its "Japanese-style hot dogs" at the Richmond Ikea location for the next week, but the popular street food vendor became the subject of an online shaming campaign.

The Richmond Ikea store has been behind a picket line since late spring. More than 350 workers at the store, including restaurant staff, walked off the job May 13 after contract talks broke down.

After opening Saturday for one day, Japadog announced on its Facebook page Sunday that it would close its Richmond Ikea location.

"Thank you for the comments and advice for our opening at Ikea Richmond store. We decided to close the location," the statement read.

Jody Adams, chief shop steward for Teamsters Local 213, the union representing the striking workers, said the public outcry on social media changed Japadog's mind.

"I really appreciate what Japadog did," Adams told CBC News.

"That shows some guts to me. They realized their mistake, and they went 'Holy cow, we made a boo-boo,' and you know what? I will shop at Japadog," he said.

Madeline Lowenborg-Frick, spokeswoman for Ikea Canada, said the outcome was unfortunate, but the company respects Japadog's decision.

"Japadog was very busy the whole day they were on site, and they really have nothing to do with the dispute," she said. "We find it unfortunate the union decided to target this small business owner."

Japadog would not comment directly to CBC News on Sunday, but in its Facebook statement, it apologized to striking Ikea workers for any inconvenience it might have caused them.

The strike is now into its fifth month.

With files from the CBC's Annie Ellison

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