Trump Store Opens in Bensalem

Gene Thornton

Like it or not, the Bensalem Plaza off of Street Road in Bensalem has welcomed a new business last month that joins an array of strip mall shops.
After being declined by nine available-for-lease store fronts in Bucks County, entrepreneur Michael Domanico, 60, and his wife Monica Domanico, 47, of Chalfont, opened The Trump Store at the east end of the plaza on Feb. 11 to a steady caucus of Trump supporters, media, and the curious.
The store sells all things Donald Trump from the popular vibrant red “Make America Great Again” hats, to Trump shot glasses, banners, lawn signs, T-shirts, pens, and yes, fake money with Trump’s face on the bill.
“Business has been great from day one,” said store owner Michael Domanico with a broad smile. “The day we opened, we had a line of people down the sidewalk, lined up down this wall, snaked around here to the back wall, then to the counter,” he said motioning with an extended arm and index finger. “Been steady ever since.”
The origins of The Trump store began with Domanico’s company Sik-Nastee Apparel Co. where he printed custom t-shirts for local car shows.
“One day at a show last summer a couple guys walked by my tent and shouted ‘I should sell Trump shirts.’ That week I made a dozen Trump shirts and sold them all in about an hour at the next show,” he said.
Being ardent Trump supporters, the Domanicos quickly realized that opportunity was knocking which led to a kiosk inside of the Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem during the peak of holiday shopping season.
“I did alright there, but got a lot of people walking by saying ‘How could I sell this stuff?’ ‘Why don’t you sell Democrat shirts?’ Next thing you know, mall management wanted me to sell democratic merchandise too. I made up some Sanders and Warren shirts… nobody bought them. I needed my own store without the rules,” he said.
Harley Buroughs, 19, an undecided major from Bensalem, has heard of the store but has never visited. “I don’t even know where it’s at,” she said. “I’m not a Trump supporter and I think a store like that is weird. I may go check it out, but I definitely won’t be buying anything,” she confidently said.
A small SUV pulled into a spot in front of the store. The passenger and both rear doors swung open simultaneously. The driver, a short woman wearing a pink Phillies hoodie and black yoga pants, exited the vehicle with four teenage boys, and began taking pictures of the boys and the store with her phone.
Her name is Gina from the Mayfair section of Philadelphia. “We’re not buying nothing today. My two sons and their friends are Trump nuts, and have been bugging me to come here to see it,” she said while flicking a finished cigarette into the parking lot. “I love Trump too, but he’s rich, he doesn’t need my money,” she said as she and the boys walked toward the store.
Having a diverse populous, initial reports of a store opening in this area touting the Trump brand generated wisps of possible protests or vandalism through social media, and small talk at local markets. There have been no reported incidents to date.
Long-time business owner Sue White of White Trophy on Bristol Pike in Bensalem has no qualms with the new store. “I’m a few miles away, it’s not going to affect me at all, plus it’s creating a little buzz for Bensalem on social media,” she said while standing in the middle of her showroom.
“One thing I wonder though,” she went on to say, “How did they get, you know, the licensing to sell Trump’s image so fast? From a tent to the mall, now a store in five months? Years ago, we wanted to carry items with the Sixers logo, and it cost money just to apply for the rights, then go through a long process of more applications, and more fees. I doubt Trump personally OK’d it,” she said with tightly crossed arms, a sarcastic smirk and tilt of her head.
In addition to the store, Domanico also loads a 5×8 cargo trailer emblazoned with Trump Store 2020 decals on all sides, with merchandise, and travels to Trump rallies, including a recent stop in Wildwood, New Jersey, to set up shop under a Trump themed canopy.
“Me and other vendors are right outside these rallies selling our stuff. Cops and Trump’s security know we’re there, they see what we’re doing in the open, and never said a thing,” Domanico said.
“Some things like certain quotes or words Trump uses are restricted to sell, but other than that I can sell whatever I want with Trump’s name without special permission,” he said pointing to a wall of assorted Trump t-shirts. Next door to the Trump Store is Bakery 502 that specializes in Spanish themed delights, such as Guava pastries, Guatemalan bread, pork tamales, and a variety of doughnuts and drinks.
“Business has been busier for me since they opened,” said Lisa Martinez, owner of the bakery. “More people come to this side of the mall now. They come in here more now,” she said with a bright, friendly smile.
Martinez is a Trump supporter, and isn’t offended by what is being sold next door, including a shirt that exclaims “Build the Wall – Deport Them All.” “Trump is good, and Mike is a nice man. I don’t worry about anything bad happening,” she said while handing change to a customer.
Trusting Trump will be elected to a second term, the Domanicos have already taken steps to open a second store in the Quakertown area. “Bernie or Biden can’t beat Trump, and that’s all they really have, so I’m confident,” Domanico said. “Another four years for me.”
So, if you’re in the market for a $20 pair of Trump sunglasses, $10 Trump socks, or a $2 Trump pin, the store is open at 2060 Street Rd, Bensalem, PA, Mon. through Sat. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store’s website can be found here