GRAND HAVEN, MICH. - Linda Fricano Slater's brothers are both promoting Donald Trump for president at their respective Fricano's restaurant locations, Doug Fricano in Grand Rapids and Ted Fricano in Muskegon.
Linda, who manages the Grand Haven Fricano's, 1400 Fulton St., told the Grand Haven Tribune she would prefer to stay out of the political realm and focus on her product, service and customers.
“I try not to mix pizza and politics,” she said. “I'm trying to stay neutral.”
Last weekend, Doug, who operates Fricano's on Alpine Avenue, posted this on Facebook:
“I have Trump signs in front of my business because I want him for our next president. People have asked me if I'm worried it will hurt my business. I tell them who cares!! Nothing will destroy my business and our country like she (Hillary Clinton) will. She is the most evil corrupt dishonest lying person on the planet.”
Doug also appeared to defend Trump's actions revealed recently in videotapes that show Trump bragging about groping women and kissing them without their consent.
“At least he was saying it to another man and not a woman,” Doug wrote. “There’s a big difference there.”
Linda's brother, Ted, put up a Trump sign on his Muskegon Fricano's restaurant, that the city asked him to remove.
“Personally, I wouldn't do what my brothers are doing, because of backlash,” Linda said. “Freedom of speech is out there. If that's what they choose to do, I'm not going to stop them.”
But Linda wants no part of it for the Grand Haven Fricano's.
“Fricano's in Grand Haven would never take sides on issues so as to not alienate anyone based on their beliefs,” she said. “We want all of our customers to feel welcome and to enjoy their night out. We appreciate everyone's business and are thankful to all who have supported our business over the years.”
Linda said she's heard comments from customers on both sides about her brothers' political posturing.
“I get a letter every now and then 'we're never coming in there again,'” she said. “And there are good comments, 'way to go, way to support freedom of speech.'”
Linda said because the Fricano's name is so popular, some customers focus only on the restaurant name.
“It's unfortunate they associate all the Fricano's,” she said. “When you hear Fricano's, you think of all of them.”
Linda said she doesn't think her brothers' actions have hurt her business.
“It's that time of year when things are a little bit slower anyway,” she said.
Linda said her commitment is to her customers, not to candidates.
“I really try to just stay neutral and serve our customers,” Linda said. “I don't want to upset one side or the other. I'm just trying to serve pizza. When people come here for dinner, they want to have fun and reconnect with family and friends. I try not to mix pizza and politics.”