Ohio store owner apologizes after announcing he’d ‘rather starve and close’ than serve Trump supporters

An Ohio music store owner who was willing to risk his business by refusing to serve Trump “sympathizers” now says he made a mistake.

The owner of Joe’s Music in Willoughby is feeling the heat after posting a sign declaring he would rather “starve and close the store” than take money from customers who support President Donald Trump, according to WJW-TV.

“I am truly sorry, however I feel unclean and dirty accepting money from you,” the sign in the store window read.  “However, I feel unclean and dirty accepting money from you. Please politely shop somewhere else. Sorry, I would rather starve and close the store than participate in wrong-doing. Many blessings to you. I hope you understand.”

Not surprisingly, the store was flooded with angry calls prompting increased security in the plaza from the Willoughby Police Department, WOIO-TV reported. Ironically, the owner who wished to just be known as “Joe,” told the station he was inspired by a dying friend who told him life was too short for political arguments. But Joe’s sign did more than spark an argument as he said he has received death threats and is keeping the store’s door locked.

“I’m getting hate messages from everywhere from Tacoma, Washington to Tampa, Florida to Rochester, New York,” he told WJW-TV.

Joe noted that he was only trying to express himself, likening his attempt to the way the president often shares his opinions.

“He’s a very verbal person and doesn’t hold back any punches and so, therefore, in the spirit of that, I’ve kind of expressed myself accidentally in the same voice that he uses,” he explained.

“It was only a request,” he said about the sign. “It wasn’t a ban, wasn’t keeping anybody out. I didn’t vet anybody. I’m just asking people before they pull on the handle to make a choice on whether they want to shop here.”

The store owner also provided a written statement to WJW-TV, which read in part:

In the spirit of activism. I put up sign. Let me be clear this is not a ban. There is a difference in asking and telling. I politely asked the Trump sympathizers, not Republicans nor people who disagree with me to spend their money somewhere else.”

I espouse many conservative values such as only spending what you have earned. No one is vetted at the door. No one has been refused service nor was that my intention nor wording.


The statement further added that “I never said I would refuse service.”

“I am truly sorry to the Trump supporters that I have hurt. I made the mistake of being insensitive to your feelings. I didn’t realize how much this hurt you. To trample people who support President Trump is cruel and mean, I am apologetic,” he said in the statement.

The Blaze noted:

“Willoughby is in Lake County. The county voted for Trump in 2016 by a margin of 54.83 percent to 39.59 percent for Hillary Clinton. It was the largest victory for a presidential candidate in Lake County since former President George H.W. Bush won the county in 1988.


But Joe’s apology may be too little, too late as many on Twitter reacted to his clarification.

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Frieda Powers


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