SHELLEY – A message in front of a Shelley business is getting a lot of attention from customers.
The owners of #Treats at 202 South State Street are proudly displaying a sign that reads,
“PRAY FOR BIDEN AND COMMIE’LA HARRIS.”
The sign insinuates that Vice President Kamala Harris is a communist. Owners Stephanie and Flint Christensen first posted it three days ago. Stephanie tells EastIdahoNews.com the sign is an expression of their political views.
“My husband doesn’t like to be silenced. He was kicked off of Facebook quite a few times, and not for anything that was mean or derogatory. It’s just that his beliefs were not (aligned) with the beliefs of Facebook,” Stephanie says.
Flint decided to get off Facebook and switched to Parler. When Amazon removed Parler from its servers a few weeks ago, Flint felt it was a case of unjustifiable censorship and he wanted to exercise his First Amendment rights.
“You can’t censor a sign,” says Stephanie. “(Biden) is still president. I’m not saying he’s not. We just don’t like to be told that we can’t say what we want to say.”
Customers seem to be supportive. Since posting the sign Saturday morning, Stephanie says it’s brought in new customers and she’s seen a 50% increase in business.
“Everybody that has come in here has said, ‘I love your sign. Keep up with it,'” she says.
But one woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, feels posting the sign on a public sidewalk is offensive and inappropriate.
She forwarded us a letter she wrote to Shelley Mayor Stacy Pascoe requesting the sign be removed.
“Please ask the owner of the business … to remove it immediately,” the woman writes. “My county and city taxes do not allow for this type of signage on a public sidewalk, let alone in front of a business!”
She further elaborated why she’s opposed to the sign in a conversation with EastIdahoNews.com.
“This is not a way to allow our country to heal and move forward. There’s always going to be differences, but if we’re going to find common ground, insinuating that the vice president is a communist … is not the way to move forward. What do you tell a child if they see that sign?”
Though she is in favor of the First Amendment, she feels there is a better way of exercising it. If nothing else, she’d like to have an open conversation about what is appropriate to put on a public sidewalk where people come and go.
Stephanie says the woman’s reaction is the first negative feedback she’s heard about and she remains firm on her decision to keep the sign up.
“(The increase in business) is enough that my husband isn’t going to take it down,” says Stephanie. “I’m a conservative thinker. I don’t think putting out a sign that says pray for somebody is bad.”
#Treats opened in April of 2019 in a building formerly occupied by a barbershop. It’s known for its selection of nostalgic treats such as Abba-Zabas, candy cigarettes and Black Cows. The candy cigarettes and the nickel nips wax bottles are among the store’s most popular items, Stephanie says.