Save Music Store from Trump Haters
Update 3/23/17 - After submitting a letter to the editor to Crain's Chicago Business, we were interviewed on Fox and Friends Sunday this week. Since then we have been inundated with an outpouring of support, generousity and media attention. We both want to thank all of you who have contributed, or reached out to show your concern for us. It has been truly heart warming and healing after a year of bullying and hate.
We have also received more attention from haters, with hate email, online smearing, crank calls, page trolling, ratings wars and so on. We expected it, and it hasn't had any effect on our convictions to tell our story. Political bullying is not ok.
We are working hard to create a new online business, where we will not be a physical target, and we intend to do something different: We intend to be open about our support of President Trump.
Trying to be private, to "keep politics out of business" did not work for us this year. If we were Hillary supporters, we could proudly have posted "I'm with her" on our front door with no problems. But as a non Democrat, you are expected to stay silent, even GUARD your political views, or any bullying you receive you "brought on yourself". This double standard has reached epic levels and we must now turn the tide, and we hope to use our voices to do that.
I will be thanking each one of our donors personally, please give me some time to catch up. It has been quite a week so far. Thank you all so very much.
Trump supporters and patriots,
Because of our support for Donald Trump, the small business my husband and I own is being targeted, threatened and smeared by a coordinated effort of anti Trump activists. In order to survive we need to relocate, and we are raising funds to get out of Chicago before everything we have worked for is destroyed. We are using this 3-4 month gofundme campaign as one of several ways we are employing to raise and record money earned towards our move, and as a way to chronical the tragic tale of political hate that is destroying our livelihood and share it with others. Here is our story....
I am Suzzanne Monk and with my husband Alexander Duvel own Worlds of Music Chicago, a musical instrument store that sells and services instruments from all over the world. We opened in 2015, after the music shop my husband managed in Chicago for 12 years closed. We raised funds from the local music community and invested our life savings to keep a world music shop open in this town and succeeded in creating Worlds of Music.
From Indian sitars to African djembes to Arabic Ouds and of course violins, band instruments, guitars, not to mention gongs, singing bowls from Tibet, and so on, the variety of world instruments we carry is second to none in the region. We are able to repair and service nearly any acoustic instrument and offer workshops and performances, too. We hosted over 160 events so far in our first 16 months of business. From the day we opened in August 2015, we were proud to be serving Chicago and were doing quite well for a startup. From August till March, we saw constant growth, and were able to proudly cover all our expenses and still have a little left over to live on. With Alexander performing for weddings and events, we were able to get by during our first 7 months, still scrimping and saving, but our business was on the right track.
In March of 2016, everything changed. I attended the Chicago Trump Rally, which as we all know turned into a riot. Little did I know that event would alter my life entirely. In a seemingly innocent Facebook thread, my husband informed a far off friend about the violence I had witnessed at the rally. This comment became a trigger for a very angry anti Trump activist and music blogger in Chicago. Angry that we did not support her version of a "peaceful protest", she began a campaign to use her connections in the local music scene to boycott and ruin our business. Over the past 11 months she has recruited several others in her attacks, organized a petition against us, and is collaborating with other Trump haters. Several others have joined in the attacks including a Chicago Tribune columnist. Using social media and word of mouth, their constant and coordinated effort has destroyed any growth we were experiencing. These lies about us have even turned long time friends and fellow musicians away, because to work or do business with us has or will harm their own reputations. And now, we are receiving physical threats to ourselves and our store.
During the election, we worked very hard to keep our personal politics out of our business, never speaking of the subject in the store. We welcomed all kinds of people from every walk of life and political persuasion, and made every effort to remain publicly apolitical. I personally went so far as to stop talking about my business at all online, so that my growing online support for Trump would not cause issue. After the rally, I knew I was a die hard Trump supporter and wanted to do whatever I could to help Donald Trump become president. I published a Trump supporter survival guide, held one woman Trump rallies, organized counter protests at Chicago Trump Tower to stand against anti Trump groups. I recorded a song, but I am most proud of my podcast on Periscope, Trump Talk US, which had over 150 episodes packed with all the real news a Trump supporter could consume. I spoke out about the Project Veritas videos, and spent every spare minute working to tell the facts about the Clintons and to advocate for our President. All the while, Alexander, front man to our little shop, kept his support of Trump nearly completely silent.
As an open Trump supporter, I avoided regular contact with my business to respect that 'code' of keeping business and politics seperate. But instead of attacking me personally, the local Chicago anti Trump movement attacked my husband, and our business. Every post he made with any mention of Trump was screenshotted and used as social media hate fodder. People from other cities who we did not know joined in coordinated ratings attacks on our FB business page, forcing us to suspend reviews all together. Each week, we find a new online hate smear, or hear a new story from a loyal friend about the now countless individuals involved in destroying our reputation merely because we voted for and support Donald J. Trump.
Due the losses experienced as a result of these attacks, we have been forced to spend assets for operating costs, have had to cut employee hours and will soon have to close our doors as revenues no longer cover expenses. Most recently we have received veiled threats of violence against our business, both online and in a note found tucked on our door stating "I hope nothing happens to your business like a fire or a brick thru the window." (Yes, we reported them to authorities; there is nothing they can do as they aren't "specific threats".)
It has gone too far and we need to get out of Chicago before things get any worse. Recent attacks on Trump supporters in the city only lend to an environment of fear, and I'll admit, we are afraid. We are afraid for the businesses and residents beside us. We are afraid for our friends who have also received hate in their defense of us. We are afraid to see our business and professional reputations destroyed completely.
So we have decided it is time to leave the town my husband was born and raised in, and set down roots in a new city. We have no savings left, and moving a home of 25 years AND a business will cost a LOT of money. We hope we can salvage our business, but at this point we need to get out for our own safety.
When my husband and I attended the inauguration this past week, we knew we wanted to do more to help Mr. Trump make America great again. I have several opportunities available in the DC area now that Trump is in office that could provide us a new start in or around our nation's capital. We are beginning the research to move our business to the region, and have begun to estimate the costs of answering the calling we feel in our hearts to go help drain the swamp.
To move just ourselves and cover basic expenses for 3 months while new jobs are started or our business is opened will cost $20k. To move our music store and recover some of our lost inventory assets, another $30k. Hence our goal of $50,000.
We are hard at work raising that money in EVERY way possible. We are selling personal possessions, liquidating any assets we can, calling in favors, working extra side jobs, anything, ANYTHING that can help us reach our goal. We will be recording all that progress toward our goal here. But we know we cannot reach it without some help from friends. So if you are moved by our story, please donate something to our cause. If you are in need of a musical instrument, please shop our online store at https://reverb.com/shop/worldsofmusicchicago
Every sale gets us closer to our goal too. And of course, if you could, please share our story to others who might also be inspired by it.
If campaigning for Trump taught me anything, it is that the best friends I have ever had are Trump friends. This movement has been a true phenomenon, bringing all walks of patriots together behind our goal to heal America. Many have struggled as we have. Our story is one of many, sadly too common, but hopefully ends with an inspiring conclusion.
We will be posting regular updates, telling more parts of our story, sharing more about our amazing little music store, links to online "yard sales" we will host, and of course progress reports on finding new roots in our new chosen home. This campaign will be ongoing for the next few months as we work towards finding some way out of Chicago and some way towards our future.
I hope you will like and follow our journey, and tell others about us. We know we are not alone in being attacked as Trump supporters, but we hope we can become a story of triumph over hate.
With your help we can. Thank you.
Here are some links to learn more about our shop.
Our Youtube channel
We will also then be able to calculate the revenue available towards the goal from sales and clearance. As you all know, we started this gofundme as a diary of HOW we are defeating the haters and creating a new life for ourselves. So we look forward to being able to move much closer to our goal by adding liquidation earnings, and perhaps even meet it very soon.
This is all thanks to the help of some wonderful people who have contributed along the way. You have made it possible to preserve inventory for the online shop that we otherwise would have had to liquidate for moving capital. The help you all shared has made the impossible possible and the very difficult into doable.
More updates to come. The journey is not yet over, and our saga has chapters yet untold. Blessed be to you all.
Our progress forward was stalled by the unfortunate passing of our dear pet Sammy. This week has truly been overwhelming.
Please know how much we appreciate each of you and intend to thank each one personally. Check my fb page to find your personal note over the past few and next few days. And thank you again for making this difficult time less harrowing.