The owner hopes "Team Deplorable" can eventually serve as a political action center for pro-Trump candidates
WEBSTER — The new "Team Deplorable" shop in Webster has sparked hundreds of comments on a Webster Facebook page as well as a small protest on Saturday.
Right now, it's basically a t-shirt shop. The owner, Bruce Ben-Dov, wants to turn it into a combination of a coffee shop, speakers corner and a political action center for President Trump and pro-Trump congressional candidates.
He says it will be a place for supporters of the president to come together and speak freely.
"I'm the CEO of Team Deplorable," Ben-Dov said. "I'm the most deplorable there is."
Ben-Dov was a paratrooper in Operation Desert Storm and has an MBA from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. The university says Ben-Dov graduated in 1990. After a career in real estate and accounting, Ben-Dov opened this business in Webster.
Regarding the name — in full, "Trump's Team Deplorable Community Action Center," he said, "I was a little bit angry, quite frankly. The far left, the very far left. Iwant people to be moderate. I want people to work together. I'm all about togetherness but unfortunately, there are some people we can't work with."
Ben-Dov says he wants to open satellite offices across the country.
He said he has reveived "overall very positive reaction" to the center.
"The day is bad when you have to say, are you a Trump supporter? And then you have to go (in a whisper) yeah, yeah, I support Trump. And you have to whisper that," he said.
News 10NBC asked Ben-Dov if the president knows about what he's doing. He said he probably does now. He has not called the White House personally.
"We were a little bit shocked, I guess, just to see this store pop up right in the middle of Webster village and so we kind of wanted to come check it out and see what it was all about because we saw all the apparel in the windows and we were like, I kind of want to know more about this," explained Katie Fornof, who was at the business protesting. "Then we decided it's the Fourth of July and we're going to come out here for a bit of a peaceful protest."
The owner is asking for thousands of dollars in donations to help kick-start the business and to support President Trump. As of Saturday afternoon, $175 had been raised on a GoFundMe page.
News 10NBC has learned Ben-Dov was sued by Amex on June 1 for not paying his credit card. The balance was close to $11,000.
The shop next door is called Nest Things. The owner, Gail Maier, says she talked to Bruce Ben-Dov before his store opened. When asked what she said, she responded, "Just that I believe that we should not use this as an opportunity to provoke. But more an opportunity to come together."