'Impeach Obama' bumper stickers spark a shopping mall protest

Charlotte ObserverJuly 27, 2009 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While protesters rallied in his support, the owner of a Concord Mills kiosk that sells conservative merchandise said he met with the mall's manager Sunday to see what arrangements can be made for him to remain after his lease expires Friday.

Nothing was agreed to, except that the two would meet again Monday, said Loren Spivack, owner of Free Market Warrior.

Spivack has contended that he's being kicked out of the mall for political reasons. He's traced his exile to a letter to the editor in the Charlotte Observer criticizing his business, saying it promotes “ideas such as racism, sexism and even slavery.”

He said he was at work again Sunday when he got a call from mall manager Ray Soporowski inviting to talk in his office.

“It was a pleasant, amicable conversation, but we didn't come to any resolution about whether our business would be able to stay in the mall,” Spivack said. “He wanted to include some of his company's senior management and we agreed to talk again Monday.”

Mall officials have repeatedly declined to comment. Reached Sunday, Soporowski continued that policy. “With all due respect, that conversation is between Loren and myself,” he said.

Sunday, about 100 people rallied in front of the mall to support Spivack and his right to free speech.

He opened his Free Market Warrior kiosk last spring, selling such items as “Impeach Obama” bumper stickers and baby bibs that say, “My parents chose life. Thanks Mom and Dad!”

Spivack said he's found other stores in the mall selling T shirts and other merchandise with offensive slogans and feels he's being targeted “purely for politic reasons.”

Since the controversy arose, he said his business has picked up.

Read the full story at charlotteobserver.com

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