A fellow retailer recently asked if we’d like to split an order of custom merchandise intended to promote a political viewpoint she knew we shared.  I gave it some serious thought, but decided to stay with our policy of not using the store to promote a specific candidate.  It is important to me that we acknowledge the fact that some of our customers and employees may not share our political views.  

I respect the fact that other small business owners, like many celebrities, have decided to use their position in the community to help influence the public to vote for a certain candidate. Others offer humorous, and even serious, political items because they know they’ll sell well.  And selling merchandise is what keeps stores in business.

Our compromise in this situation is to promote the concept of voting, without endorsing any specific candidates.  We’ve carried the VOTE soap by Kala Style in past years, and plan to do so again in 2020.  There is a recent trend to offer a discount or gift to anyone wearing a sticker showing that they voted (which does exclude those voting by mail, unfortunately).  We look forward to doing something special in the November election to reward those who help decide the future of our country. 

Another way to encourage voting is to allow employees time off to vote, and we will certainly make sure that no one on our staff misses out on the election because of work.  Only 56% of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election, compared to almost 80% in the average election in Denmark.  Even though we chose to not publicly take sides, we will do what we can to increase participation in this essential democratic process.

Happy Retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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