Business booms at Trump Tower, nearby retailers hit
TVC E. Bailey White, 13, stood patiently in line with her little brother Keaton at the gift store inside the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue on Wednesday afternoon, each clutching a stuffed terrier named Charlie that cost $35 per item.
The beagle, with a Trump monogram on its white bandana, was modeled on the pet dog of Eric Trump, the son of President-elect Donald Trump. It was one of the few items left on the shelves of the store, which had sold out of that morning’s fresh batch of red “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” t-shirts by noon.
Bailey and Keaton, 10, however, were happy with their score. The children, who had traveled to New York from Florida originally for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, told Reuters they were huge fans of Donald Trump, listing at the top of their reasons his commitment to reduce illegal immigration. Or, as the younger brother puts it, “To stop bad guys from getting in our country.”
As businesses around the president-elect’s glitzy New York home have had to deal with extra security and crowds reducing foot traffic sales in the lead up to Fifth Avenue’s busiest shopping weekend, Trump souvenirs have been flying off the shelves at the billionaire’s gift store.
Trump supporters like the White siblings and their mom Laura have proven to be a boon for at least one of the his businesses in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. presidential election.
In just one hour, a Reuters reporter counted at least 100 people crowding the shop located on the lower level of the Tower to buy hats, pins and more. Many were disappointed to find the $30 dollar red “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” hat and all campaign t-shirts out of stock.
Just one door over, a single salesman sat in dim lighting in the middle of the day at a New York City souvenir store, also in Trump Tower, greeting visitors with, “Looking for Trump merchandise?” before redirecting them.
When asked if the number of visitors inside the Trump Tower had increased since the presidential results, a security guard in the building replied: “One hundred percent.”
Outside, where some of the world’s most well-known retailers spend more on rent than in just about any other city, shoppers had to fight through security, crowds and media packs to enter the Gucci store or tony jeweler Tiffany’s.
Rosalia Betancourt, 69, first trekked to Trump Tower two days after Trump was elected in search for the eponymous red hat. They were sold out.
When Betancourt, who moved to New York from Venezuela more than four decades ago, braved holiday crowds a week later on Wednesday, she had to leave empty-handed once again.
“It’s all right” she said. “I guess I’ll go online. It just has to be red.”
Sari Nielsen, 71, was waiting at the Trump Cafe next door to the shop for the crowds to die down.
“I want to buy my nephew Pete a Trump golf hat for Thanksgiving,” said Nielsen, who moved to New York in 1975 from Argentina.
Shoppers also had the option of buying Trump cufflinks, blankets, bags, perfume, candy, books authored by members of the family and more.
The line shortened somewhat during lunchtime when visitors turned their attention to the Trump Grill, which does not offer reservations but a $25 dollar fixed-price meal.
Trisha Williams, 50, of San Jose, California also made the trip to New York for the parade with her son Cayden, 8, who stayed up and watched the election. The two stood outside the Trump Tower with their gold Trump store bags.
“We wanted to experience it all and buy some merchandise,” Trisha said.
But many of the items she wanted to buy were not available.
“They didn’t really have very much,” Trisha said noting that a saleswoman at the store gave her a card outlining how she can make purchases online and that she’s already followed her advice.
“I wanted a jacket with a Trump logo and a t-shirt, but they didn’t really have anything left.”