June 05, 2020
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Why a Maine couple opened a Trump-themed coffee shop in Rockland

Lauren Abbate | BDN
Lauren Abbate | BDN
Covfefe, a Trump-themed coffee and gift shop, opened last week in Rockland.

ROCKLAND, Maine — President Donald Trump might not be a fan of coffee, but that didn’t stop a couple from opening up a coffee shop here in his honor.

Covfefe Coffee and Gifts opened last week on Old County Road in Rockland. Camden resident Jestin Merchant, who opened the shop with his wife Carrie, said he wants Covfefe to be a place where customers can be open about supporting Trump, despite the fact that Democrat Hillary Clinton outpolled him in Rockland 2,023 to 1,209 during the 2016 presidential election.

“From a business standpoint there really isn’t anything else like this out there,” Merchant said. “I recognized the need in this area, that there should be a spot where people can come and support Trump and not feel like they’re strange or different because they do support the president.”

The shop’s name is a reference to a famous midnight tweet from May 2017, when Trump wrote, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” He likely meant “coverage,” but he never completed the thought, which ended abruptly with “covfefe.”

Merchant said he feels that Trump never does anything unintentionally — especially when he tweets.

Trump, however, is not a big coffee drinker. Trump told Esquire magazine in 2015 that the early death of his brother Fred is the reason he avoids coffee, as well as tobacco and alcohol.

The shop features plenty of Trump-themed swag, from the quintessential MAGA hats to “Trump Train” flags and a slew of bumper stickers. A library in one corner offers books written by conservative commentators such as Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter.

Covfefe brews and sells coffee from Thrasher Coffee Co., a Georgia-based company that markets its product to people who are tired of “liberal coffee.”

“Inject a shot of robust American coffee and feel the rush of patriotism coursing through your red-blooded conservative veins,” Thrasher’s website states.

While the beans are roasted in the U.S., they are sourced from Central and South America, as well as Africa and Indonesia. Hawaii and California are the only states with climates suitable to grow coffee, although the territory of Puerto Rico has a burgeoning industry.

Merchant said the coffee has been a hit with customers, who get a chuckle out of blends with names like, “MAGA”, a dark roast named “The Don,” “#45 Blend,” and “Border Blend.” Covfefe quickly sold out of a chocolatey blend named after First Lady Melania Trump.

In the week the shop has been open, Merchant said it’s received an outpouring of support. It sold out of MAGA hats within two days.

“I was amazed by the amount of support,” he said. “People from all over the state of Maine are coming out of the woodworks in support of this.”

Merchant said there has been some pushback in online forums, and from one woman who drove up to the shop, laid on her horn and flipped the bird.

But even if you’re not a Trump fan, Merchant said he hopes people can get a kick out of the shop and maybe buy a gift for the Trump supporters in their lives. Merchant pointed out that none of the merchandise features negative commentary.

“We’re not looking to offend or be mean-spirited,” Merchant said. “You may not support Trump or you may not support his ideas, but I guarantee there is probably someone in your family who does and they would love to have a Trump gift.”

Merchant said he hopes the shop can be a place for civil discussions in an era when social media is changing the way we talk to one another.

Soon, the Knox County Republicans will have a representative based at the shop and people will be able to pick up Trump yard signs at the location.

Merchant said he only projected Covfefe to be a yearlong business endeavor. He and his wife own the Old County Road building and are trying to sell it. But Merchant said it could go on for longer. Even if Trump doesn’t win re-election, he said they could change the theme.

“I love the feel and the fun aspect of it as well,” Merchant said. “Everyone who walks in the door seems to have a smile on their face and they’re just happy to see something like this in existence.”

 


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