The suburb of Watauga now has something to boast about: It has the only Trump store in DFW.
Owner Mary Talley has a background in entertainment as an owner and operator of carnival rides; when COVID hit and the State Fair of Texas and other fairs were canceled, she started selling Trump merchandise in pop-ups on the side of the highway.
Her Trump pop-ups were so successful that Talley decided to open a mega-MAGA store in Watauga. The Trump Store opened last week at 6500 Denton Highway after earning some following on social media. Some 2,200 square feet of pro-Trump merchandise will be available to loving homes. Or perhaps target practice, if you're Democratically inclined.
Although conservative and supporter of "red' Texas, Talley says the chief goal for her store isn't political at all. It's economic survival for her and her employees who have been hammered by a pandemic that has shut down the fairs and shows that keep her regular business thriving. Naturally, we had some questions.
Tell me about the decision behind opening a Trump store, during the pandemic ...
Because when we did the pop-ups, we put our Trump flags and all the cool flags, and we put those around our little 8-by-10 tents, and then the wind would come and blow our tent away. It was really hard to sell merchandise as a pop-up. And then I saw that people are hesitant to stop a lot of the times and I thought, well, you know, the stuff was selling like crazy, people are loving it. So I decided to just open up a retail shop somewhere for Trump, and it's called Trump Store.
What are your best-selling items right now?
Definitely the yard signs and flags, T-shirts, hats … we sell everything. We have car flags, the big 3-by-5 flags that they're putting on those boat parades. We have Trump bobbleheads. We have bumper stickers, magnets, scarves, commemorative coins, dog scarves, collars.
Are you getting any specific requests?
“Hidin’ from Biden,” is one thing they asked me [and it's] is the first time I've heard of that. Or, you know, they asked for “Girls for Trump” instead of “Women for Trump.”
People come in asking me for these things. I go to my wholesalers and ask if they have them.
Do you carry any items with slogans that people may find controversial or offensive, like “All Lives Matter” or Confederate flags?
We don't, really. The Confederate flag is an issue, so we don't really have that for sale. We're doing “Back the Blue.”
Do you get any anti-Trump visitors to the store?
Not really. All the people that come in are so grateful that we've opened the store. ... I have never seen so many people who are thrilled to have a place to come like a one-stop-shop. They say they go online and ... there's really not much to order. There’s just not much selection, and they're just happy. I bet every customer who comes in spends no less than 30 to 45 minutes just looking at everything. We have a “Take your picture with the Trumps” cardboard cutouts. And so they can do that. And then we have “We the people,” you know, [and] share a thought with President Trump's “Sign the wall.” So they're signing the wall, and we're sending all this to the White House, all these comments so President Trump can see what we the people have to say.
My partner and I are planning on donating a small portion of the proceeds to campaigns in Texas that need help to make sure that we keep Texas red, and we're really worried about that because we hear about all these people coming from like the West, and California seems to be more Democratic. I don't know if they are or not. I don't live there, but that's what the people say.
And what are your worries specifically?
I don't really have any worries, ma'am. I just don't want Texas to be blue. I want Texas to stay red.
I know, but those are colors. In terms of policy, what's the difference for you?
Texas red means Republican. We are a state that is conservative, right?
I was asking what values specifically you were hoping to promote through the merchandise.
I'm just providing a service. It's not about values. It's about providing a service for merchandise that people really want.
When people come to your store, is it a political space where people can talk about politics?
We don't have conversations with the people. I guess people have their own conversations. I see people talking to each other, but they're also excited when they come into our store when they see all the different things we have … We have face masks ... that have the Trump logo and the “Back the Blue.” We’ve got Halloween Trump masks. We've got buttons and broaches and socks and leggings are coming in the next week. We're gonna have Christmas Trump. We can't get the merchandise quick enough.
Do you sell any Trump brand products or Ivanka and Melania brand products?
I wouldn't even know what that is.
They all have their own brands.
I don't have anything to do with that, ma'am.
Do people wear masks at your store?
They do. I mean, if they want to wear them, they can. We're not gonna say they can't be in there if they don't have a mask on. But I mean, it's not the law, you know what I'm saying? So everybody pretty much wears masks. It's kind of like we've all been trained to do that, haven't we? Unfortunately.
How did you feel about the debate (Tuesday) night? Did you have any thoughts on that.?
I thought what’s that guy's name ... Chris Wallace … Is it Mike Wallace or Chris Wallace?
I felt like he was biased towards the Biden guy. I literally couldn't even hear what they were saying because they were drowning each other out. I was actually disappointed in the debate. It wasn't run very well.
Have you received any backlash about the store?
No. And if you're gonna write this story about that, I'd rather not have a story at all. I want good press out there, otherwise, I don't want any. I'm definitely giving you the opportunity to get the word out in Dallas. I could call The Dallas Morning News or any of those other ones also.
This is a positive thing. This isn't a negative thing. If this is gonna be a negative story because you don't like Trump, then I don't want the story to be on there at all. Honestly, I thought I was just letting you know we opened a retail store, and that's all that we need the people need to know.
Obviously, at a time of political tension, when someone opens a Trump store, sometimes there might be a backlash. So that’s an objective, legitimate question.
Yeah, but we haven't had anything like that. It's all been really good and positive. I'm just trying to let the people know on the Dallas side that there's a retail store for them to come to so they don't have to go to pop-ups anymore.
Well, since you don't seem willing to talk about anything else, even though there are, you know, pertinent questions ... The whole store is for Trump supporters. So people are gonna have questions about it.
What I think personally doesn't matter. That's my own opinion. This is a business for me.
You said that you're not just selling the product but that your goal is to promote the campaign. You have a personal investment in the cause, right?
Well, I started selling the Trump merchandise, ma'am, because my business has been shut down because of this COVID deal. Everything. The entire industry has been just annihilated. Understand? All the fairs in the country have been shut down. Every generational carnival amusement provider has been completely shut down. We're floundering. We didn't get the stimulus money. ... The PPP [loan] didn't last very long. They're not doing anymore. The Democrats and the Republicans are fighting in Washington. I mean, do you watch the news? The news lies about everything. They don't ever tell the truth. I'm so glad that Trump gets on there and talks. Otherwise, we wouldn't know really what was happening
What happens with the store or the merchandise if he loses, for instance?
I'll have a clearance sale, I guess. I don't know. I mean, I really feel like he'll win. I think there's a silent majority out there that are afraid to say anything. I can't imagine him not winning just because of all of my friends and all over the country who are doing the same thing I'm doing.
They can't keep the stuff in the stores. People are afraid to speak out because the haters want to hurt the people who support them. That's what I think. That's my personal opinion. I mean, people are afraid. Look what they're doing, look what's happening to our country. These Democratic states ... Portland. I was watching all that. They closed the city down. The mayor allowed that to happen in Kenosha, Wisconsin. You see all that stuff, and they're tearing the businesses up. It looked like war zone. I mean, what purpose does that serve to tear our country up? If you really want to know how I feel about it, I have grandkids who are 7, 5, 2 and a newborn, and I'm worried about their future and I'm worried about their freedoms, that's all. I'm worried about them.
What do you mean by freedoms?
I believe that the Democratic Party wants to turn this into a socialistic country. They want to control who gets to have healthcare. They want to take your private healthcare away. That's a God-given right? They want to take your guns away. I mean, there's so many things. I wish there were no party lines. I mean, I don't have to pick a side. We have our freedom. Our freedoms to choose, freedom of speech.
We have to be sheltered in place for COVID, but yet it's OK to go out and have unpeaceful protests. What a double standard. Nobody shuts those down.
The slogan “Make America Great Again” is a big part of the Trump campaign. What time period do you believe was with the greatest for all Americans?
It's hard for me to answer because I really, just like most people in the country, I wasn't paying attention to the political climate for most of my life. I probably really started paying attention since 2014.
I’m in my mid-50s — so I really liked Ronald Reagan a lot. I thought he did a lot for our country. He got, you know, the wall torn down over there in Russia, and I thought he did a lot of good things.
Reagan granted amnesty to undocumented immigrants ...
And I don't think Trump has a problem with immigration. He just doesn't want them coming over here illegally.
How did your ancestors arrive in the country?
Um, my ancestors are… They've been here all their lives, I guess. I mean, as far as I know, they're English. I don't know how far back it is, but, uh, I think they were in the East. That's all I could tell you. I've never done a lineage on my family.
Do you have any … are any of the products made in China?
I'm really not sure. I'll have to look. And I didn't ask. I get them from wholesalers. I don't ask where they come from. Things have come from there, but we buy, you know, from America. We buy from where we can.
Is the Observer a Democratic paper or Republican paper?
We don't have an official political affiliation for the paper. But it’s an alt-weekly …
I'm the same with you. I can't afford to pick a side publicly because I work with all parties in my business. Normally. Does that make sense?
Yeah, but the store makes a statement.
Yes, it does. And I'll just tell you, I don't necessarily. I believe he's the CEO of the United States, and he's putting America first. And if people could get past his New York persona, I think, and really look and see the things that he's accomplished, I think at the end of the day that his intentions are in the right place. He didn't have to be the president of the United States, this guy had billions. He's not taking a salary for the job. He didn't need to be president to be successful,
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So that's kind of how I look at it. I kind of feel sorry for the dude. I don't even know how he sleeps at night.
In what sense?
I just feel I feel bad for him. I mean, he gets attacked from all sides all the time. I always see people try to put him down or twist his words. When he was coming on the channels every day, he would come every day at five o'clock or something. And then I turned on CNN on purpose, and they twisted everything he said because CNN's a Democratically owned publication.
What news sources do you watch?
You know, I used to be a Fox person, but they have turned a little more the other way. But I would say I'll probably do the Fox more than anything.
I watch them all, just like anybody. Generally, I watched all of them to see if they all agree on the weather. You know what I'm saying? I just need to know if it's gonna rain or not. Because in my industry, rain hurts us. Not the Trump stuff, but the Ferris wheel. Can you imagine being on the top of the Ferris wheel and in comes a big rain? I wouldn't want to be on the top, right? The weather is real important for me. I'm always watching the weather, but not right now, ma'am.