Presidential elections are always polarizing, but you could make the argument this year more so than ever before. So is it smart for businesses to openly support a particular candidate?
Whether it’s bold, or subtle, some local businesses are going political. Like Kercheville and Company Investment Securities with a massive digital sign outside the office.
“We get a lot of feedback. It’s either you love it or hate it. There’s not a lot of middle ground there,” said Josh Kercheville, the company’s vice president.
He added that they’re actually not big fans of Donald Trump, but are using their sign to help the Republican Party.
“We feel like we kind of have a platform here to kind of at least give voice to the side that believes in limited government,” Kercheville explained.
There’s a much smaller and simpler sign outside the law offices of Maloney and Campolo.
“I find it incredible that most businesses don't have the courage to say who they're supporting,” said Tim Maloney, who added that he’s never shied away from showing his political bias and he believes this election is critical. “As an attorney you’ve got to be objective in all matters, but that doesn’t mean your free speech is left at the door.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is respectful of that free speech.
“[Political signs] get stolen all the time,” Maloney noted.
It’s a different candidate, but it’s the same problem for Rob Stewart, owner of Main Glass and Mirror Company. He’s replaced his Trump sign once before and is now battling graffiti.
“I really believe this time we can't sit on the sidelines,” Stewart said. “This is a time where we've got to stand up for what we believe.”
On the city’s east side, Norma Witherspoon owns a business that doubles as a beauty supply store and a thrift store. The entire store front is one big ad for Democrats, and she’s never thought twice of holding back.
“We, as a country, should not be in fear of taking a stance in who we support,” Witherspoon said.
There’s even love for third party candidates, like a large banner for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson which flies high above a small auto dealership along I-10.
And if you’re wondering what the political openness does for the businesses, the owners say that it helps.
“A lot of clients like it. They come here,” Kercheville said. “That’s one of the things that bring them here.”
“People know what I'm about, what I stand for, and I want them to know that,” Manloney said.
(© 2016 KENS)