Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pop-up shop sells unconventional political merchandise

TAMPA — Tricia Everett walked into the store Saturday with her husband and granddaughter and was enthralled.

All around were signs of the coming Republican National Convention.

In the front was a Barack Obama punching bag. Along the walls were novelty T-shirts that read "Nobama,'' "Mitt is Legit'' and "Keep Calm and Vote Republican.'' Bumper stickers urged customers not to drink the "Obama Kool-aid.'' Bins were filled with "Mitt Romney for President'' pins.

But what finally got her attention was a little stuffed bear with an elephant on it.

"Hey Miss Polly, let's get the little bear," Everett cooed to her granddaughter. "We're so happy to have found this shop."

The store is American Emporium, a pop-up memorabilia shop on N Franklin Street. It's the only one of its kind in the downtown area. It opened Friday and will stay open for three weeks, hoping to capitalize on the more than 50,000 visitors expected for the convention, said Richard Moore, a Tampa manufacturer who is running the store.

He opened it up after he found nobody else had applied for a business permit.

It has been slow so far, with mostly locals coming. Moore said he expects business to pick up with the start of the convention.

Although the majority of the merchandise targets Republicans, there's a fair amount that's pro-Obama.

Moore said he'll sell to all types.

"It's Americana," he said. "People take it too seriously."

He said he gets a lot of people coming in who are upset by the overt show of politics.

Will Cooper, 24, came into the store, checking out the T-shirts. A Romney supporter, he liked the variety in the store. He was surprised that it would offer pro-Obama merchandise.

One thing he didn't love: the Obama punching bag.

"I dislike Obama, but I don't know if we need to pretend to be punching a president," he said. "I don't know what that really proves."

Moore said the punching bags have been one of his best sellers: About 20 in the first day.

Pop-up shop sells unconventional political merchandise 08/25/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 25, 2012 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)