Historic Briggs Hardware hosts Lara Trump to talk small business

Eamon Queeney—North State Journal
Lara Trump

RALEIGH — Lara Trump made a campaign stop in Raleigh on behalf of her Republican presidential nominee father-in-law Tuesday at historic Briggs Hardware, owned by sixth generation Briggs family member Evelyn Murray, to talk about small business.”Evelyn is so gracious to have us here today and it’s been an honor to hear your story and the history of your store,” said Lara Trump. “Evelyn, like so many small business owners, has felt the impact of the economy.”Though she is now a member of Donald Trump’s billionaire family, the North Carolina native said she is no stranger to the small businesses that make the economy go.”I’m very comfortable in a hardware store,” she said. “My parents have small businesses, they have my whole life, so I understand what it’s like to own a small business and to have employees that count on you every day.”Briggs Hardware was originally founded in the 1850s by Thomas H. Briggs and his partner James Dodd. After buying Dodd out in the 1860s, Briggs went on to build the historic four-story Briggs building on Fayetteville Street that stood as the tallest building in the City of Oaks for 33 years.The store remained in the family for more than a century, but was ultimately unable to weather the sharp recession that began in 2008 and closed its doors in 2015.However, the store was reopened in a new downtown location by Murray, who was excited to host Lara Trump and said she is strongly leaning toward supporting Donald Trump for president.”I’m mighty excited to have a woman come to a woman-owned business,” said Murray. “We appreciate you coming here. We appreciate you standing tall for the woman, and what a wonderful daughter-in-law Donald has!”What affects small business is Obamacare and then the healthcare industry as a whole,” Murray continued. “I can’t afford to pay my employees’ health insurance anymore, and I’m getting so I can’t afford mine anymore.”Murray stated she thinks Trump will do better for small business owners like herself.”He’s not a politician,” said Murray. “He’s a businessman, and as a businesswoman I need his expertise to help loosen the economy and regulations. I don’t see a lot of anybody doing anything but talking, and I think that’s an issue that needs to be addressed.”Lara Trump concurred that her father-in-law is the better choice over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for entrepreneurs like Murray.”Well look, Hillary Clinton, in my opinion, would be a continuation of what we’ve seen in the last seven to eight years,” said Lara Trump. “As you can see in Evelyn’s case; that doesn’t work.”Despite the stock exchanges being at record highs, Murray says it has done nothing for Main Street, and she hopes Trump can change that.”When people are looking at business, they’re not looking at the average man and woman,” said Murray. “People, [such] as myself, are losing their businesses still. Nothing’s improved on our end. Those are the things that are happening, not just to me, but to a lot of people around here.”Murray described her distrust of Clinton regarding ongoing email scandals and alleged influence peddling through the Clinton Foundation.”I’m very concerned about Hillary Clinton,” said Murray. “I also know Donald Trump can’t be bought and that is one issue that I’ve seen in politics way too long.”