SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A sign advertising a new store that sells merchandise supporting President Donald Trump is causing a disconnect between a Rhode Island restaurant and some of its customers.
The store, New England for Trump, opened its doors on Saturday and the shop’s sign is located directly underneath Cook & Dagger’s, with no space between the two.
One of the restaurant’s owners took to Facebook earlier this week to clear the air after several customers claimed they would not return to their restaurant due to “a sign that we as Cook & Dagger have no affiliation with.”
The owner wrote that Cook & Dagger remains neutral and respects everyone’s right to free speech.
“We just want to keep whipping up delicious food and drink … that’s all we are trying to do here,” the post read.
Ed McMahon, New England for Trump’s store opener and closer, said the landlord chose the sign’s placement, and it’s silly that customers are taking their frustrations out on the restaurant.
“I think it’s going to stay because that’s where the landlord wants the sign and he’s the boss,” McMahon said. “Ain’t nothing we can do about it … it’s a shame because he didn’t have any say in it, like we didn’t have any say in it.”
The owner of Cook & Dagger said the situation has been “mentally draining, worrisome and uncertain,” since they were already struggling to stay afloat through the coronavirus pandemic.
“The past few months have been difficult, not just for us, but many small businesses,” the post continued. “We are extremely grateful to have had enough support to remain open through the pandemic.”
There are six New England for Trump stores in the region, and the Smithfield location is the first to open in Rhode Island.