FARGO — The store selling Donald Trump-themed merchandise in Fargo sits dark and locked up, but looks can be deceiving.
The situation is only temporary, as the store is expected to reopen at some point in the future, according to Derek Allen, one of the operators of Showtime Novelties, the Minnesota-based company that operates the Trump shop.
Allen, who runs Showtime Novelties with his brother, Donovan, and business partner Kevin Einafshar, said merchandise from the Trump shop was boxed up and shipped elsewhere around the country to meet public demand for their products, including Washington, where last week a rally held by Trump supporters devolved into an attack on the Capitol building, and the Tampa Bay, Fla., area, where the Super Bowl will be played on Feb. 7.
Derek Allen, whose company also offers concessions like snow cones and mini doughnuts at Newman Outdoor Field, home of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, said they plan to sell political merchandise in Washington on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, stressing that this time around Joe Biden-themed goods will take center stage.
"Flags, hats, pins, things like that," said Allen, who said when it comes to selling merchandise, personal politics take a backseat to business considerations.
Allen said his company had stands selling Trump merchandise in Washington last Wednesday and they also sold merchandise wholesale to other retailers selling goods at the Trump rally that preceded the riotous invasion of the Capitol building, mayhem that Allen said "definitely could have been avoided."
Allen said one consequence of the riot was that it likely convinced any fence-sitters in the blue/red divide to move to the blue side.
While Trump items continue to sell, Allen said the market for such things has cooled considerably, noting that his company had about 56 Trump shops at the height of election fever.
Now, he said, they are down to about three.
Still, when business was good, it was very good, according to Allen, who said that was true at the recent Trump rally in Washington.
"It was booming," he said.
And while Allen said the Trump brand will likely take a breather with a new president in the White House, he believes it will be a hiatus, not a cancellation.
"He (Trump) will be running again. He ain't going to stop," Allen said.