Friday, December 9, 2016
My Account  | Login
Nashua-BoireFieldAirport;33.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/sct.png;2016-12-09 12:17:39
Saturday, October 15, 2016

Shop owners say pro-Trump signs deter customers

By KATHY CLEVELAND
Staff Writer

MILFORD - Eileen Cavallaro once worked for the George H.W. Bush presidential campaign. The longtime Milford shop owner has nothing against Republicans, but the large political signs that surround the door to her flower shop are killing her business, she says.

The Donald Trump sign in particular. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

MILFORD - Eileen Cavallaro once worked for the George H.W. Bush presidential campaign. The longtime Milford shop owner has nothing against Republicans, but the large political signs that surround the door to her flower shop are killing her business, she says.

The Donald Trump sign in particular.

In the past four days, she said Thursday, there has not been a single customer in her shop, The Garden Party - and the only people who come in are looking for the Trump campaign headquarters.

Without the Trump sign, it would be OK, she said. "He's the one making people freak out, with his words and actions."

Asked for comment Thursday morning, Cory Custer, Trump's New Hampshire campaign director, asked for the problem to be described in an email and said someone would get back to The Telegraph, but no one did by Friday afternoon.

Cavallaro has run her florist shop in downtown Milford for 15 years and moved to her current location on the west side of the Oval three years ago.

Two years ago, there were political signs on the building's exterior, but that election did not get people as excited. And making things worse, Cavallaro said, is that the signs this year seem bigger and brighter.

"So many people saw them during the pumpkin festival," she said, and on Facebook, people were asking her if she supports Donald Trump.

Cavallaro said about three-quarters of her customers are women, and right after the "Access Hollywood" tape appeared on the news, showing Trump talking about women in demeaning terms - that was when walk-in customers really started disappearing.

Typically, there are about 20 customers a day, said the store owner, who said she's lost about $1,000 worth of business and that her products are perishable.

"I don't sell week-old flowers," she said. "It's a little frustrating ... political campaigns have never been like this before. It's embarrassing."

Next to Cavallaro's shop, in the same building, is the Charles David Hair Studio.

Salon owner Julie Abeels said she, too, has lost customers because of the political signs and is doing her best to disassociate the shop from them - especially the Trump sign.

Abeels said she asked the building's owner how she is going to pay rent when she's losing customers.

"The day I noticed the signs, I texted the owner," she said.

"They are definitely a nuisance. It looks like I support Trump ... it would have been common courtesy to notify the tenants first," she said. "This is not a place to put signs. The election is too volatile."

On its Facebook page, the salon says, "We do not support any political propaganda posted on our building." It says the signs were posted without its consent and that it is working to have them removed.

"People are not coming," Abeels said. Some clients say they are staying away because there should be no politics in the salon, or because they don't support the candidates, she said.

Both shop owners said building owner Karen Deware has not returned any of their messages, nor did Deware return calls from The Telegraph.

Mark Biggie, chairman of the Milford Republican committee, said in a phone interview that the organization has nothing to do with the signs.

A campaign sign for Executive Councilor David Wheeler is directly above the door of The Garden Party.

Wheeler said the problem sounds like a landlord-tenant issue. For rental property he owns, he has it written into the lease that political signs of his choosing are allowed, he said.

Political signs in Milford must conform to the sign sizes for the particular zoning area. Cavallaro said she took the issue to the town planning office, and they are looking into whether the Republican signs meet that criteria.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@nashuatelegraph.com.