It could be huge. Bigly. Believe me.
An Anniston auto dealership opened this week bearing the 45th president’s name, with ambitions of attracting business from Alabama’s Trump-loving voters.
Trump Auto Sales, on Quintard Avenue, held its grand opening Tuesday. And the lot with more than 50 pre-owned vehicles has already sold three, General Manager Jeremy Pressley said. The business also reports a lot of foot traffic.
“99 percent of the people who come here love it,” Pressley said of the name. “We’ve had two different people who didn’t like the name. If the name offends you, I guess it’s doing what it’s supposed to.”
The dealership isn’t owned by Trump or associated with his various business ventures. But the red, white and blue exterior of the building, as well as its variation on the president’s campaign slogan – “Make Car Buying Great Again” – leave little doubt what kind of association the dealership is hoping for.
Using the Trump name is about more than just attracting business, Pressley said.
“We all support him,” Pressley said. “I think he’s doing a fantastic job. The economy is just doing better and better. I mean, I remember how it was in 2008 and 2009. Every day, it’s getting better and better I believe.”
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first use of a president’s name for a commercial enterprise. Every toy store has a Teddy Bear, its name inspired by a 1902 Mississippi hunting trip by Theodore Roosevelt. The toy maker who created the Teddy Bear got Roosevelt’s permission however.
The car lot’s use of the Commander-in-Chief’s moniker could cause problems in that Trump already uses his name on hotels, resorts and other commercial ventures and has been aggressive around the world at protecting it.
According to the Washington Post, he has made at least $59 million in revenue through licensing his name. And earlier this year, DTTM Operations, the company that controls Trump trademarks, applied in Macau for rights to the Trump name in several ventures, including casinos, construction, hotels and real estate. The New York Times reported it also won a judgment against use of his name by coffee shops and restaurants overseas.