Show Low's 'Trumped Store' Aims To Make Navajo County Conservative Stronghold
Arizona turned a shade of purple after the midterm elections, as both Republicans and Democrats won high-profile contests. That “blue wave,” however, missed rural Navajo County, and a couple of business partners in Show Low want to keep it that way. They run a one-of-a-kind shop dedicated to President Trump-related merchandise. KNAU’s Aaron Granillo introduces us to this couple dedicated to conservative values.
A steady stream of customers arrive every morning at the “Trumped Store and Coffee House.” Barista Sean Lynch whips up a latte underneath a sign that reads “Making Coffee Great Again.” He pours foam over espresso and milk, still fine-tuning his latte artwork.
"Sometimes I’ll make random abstract shapes, and I’ll be like, 'Look that’s Trump’s head'," Lynch jokes. "People will be like 'no way.' Just kidding, I really can’t make that good yet.”
The store is full of customers from all over the state. Some come for the coffee, others for the vast collection of Trump-inspired merch. Rosemary Quesenberry drove three hours to buy a shirt.
“I’m picking up the medium t-shirt again, 'I’m an adorable deplorable,'" says Quesenberry. “I love to tell everybody I’m an adorable deplorable.”
It’s not just t-shirts on the racks. Everything from Trump teddy bears and rubber ducks to children’s books and mugs fill the shelves. There’s even a talking Trump toilet paper roll holder in the restroom that literally delivers the president’s message: "Our leaders are stupid, our politicians are stupid... We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning."
“I forgot how we even stumbled on to the toilet roll. We found it somehow and it’s been a huge hit,” says Steve Slaton, co-owner of the Trumped Store.
Slaton opened the store with Karen MacKean in 2016. They converted this former mechanic’s garage into an unofficial campaign headquarters for then-candidate Donald Trump.
“We’re passionate conservatives. We are here to hopefully keep this very, very conservative area, and keep it a strong Republic," says MacKean. "So, that’s what we so strongly support the president’s policies."
The city of Show Low is a conservative stronghold. Registered Republicans here outnumber Democrats 3 to 1. But, not everybody here likes the Trumped Store. It’s been vandalized, and the owners say they sometimes receive threatening calls. It’s also a popular spot for peaceful protests.
"Every once in a while, we have demonstrations in the park next to them," says Eric Kramer, chairman of Navajo County Democrats. "But, we do our best to kind of ignore them.
Kramer doesn’t think the Trumped Store had any effect on the area’s Republican voting record in the midterm. After all, he says, Navajo County - outside of Show Low - has more Democrats than Republicans.
"We saw very good turnout, and that’s a part of what helped us to win statewide offices for the first time in many, many years," says Kramer. "We’re feeling good about the direction of things.”
So are Steve Slaton and Karen MacKean. They even have plans to expand the Trumped Store.
"It’s another room over there that’s not developed yet. says MacKean. "Our plan is to make it a Trump Wine bar.”