There’s not much Donald Trump hasn’t tried in the unbridled pursuit of the dollar.
Before winning the presidency, he was best known for building a real estate empire from his father’s inheritance, firing contestants on The Apprentice, and opening three casinos nearly within eyesight of one another in Atlantic City. He also slapped his name on just about anything he could sell. There was a university, bottled water, a board game, a magazine, vodka, a travel website, and an airline, to name a few.
After he was elected, Trump’s name evolved into a buzzword, beloved by many, hated by others.
That got Joe Wade, a Trump supporter from Coopersburg, Bucks County, to thinking as he tried to come up with a name for his new roofing company in 2018.
“I just like his slogan ‘Make America Great Again,’ so I just thought it would be cool, so I gave it a shot," Wade, 53, said. "I named it Trump Roofing, and our slogan is ‘Make Your Roof Great Again.’ ”
Wade, who grew up in Rockledge and went to Abington High School, has been a roofer since 1996. Prior to taking the president’s name, he spent a few thousand dollars a week advertising online. Now, thanks to all the attention the company’s Facebook page has gotten, he said he doesn’t have to.
“There’s probably no roofing company in America getting more likes than me,” he said.
Taking on Trump’s name has brought criticism. One woman posted a mock-up of Trump getting a colonoscopy. A former classmate wanted to fight him at 17th and Shunk Streets in South Philly, but Wade declined.
“Sanders roofing has lower costs and isn’t golfing when he should be working,” one man wrote on Wade’s Facebook page.
Several of the magnetic signs on his work trucks have been stolen, by haters or fans. Wade thinks most of the people who see his trucks love them.
“It happens every day with one of my trucks when we go to Wawa or Lowe’s. People want to pose with the truck,” he said.
On Monday morning, Wade and employee Tom Tuoey, 56, of Hellertown, were opening up Trump Roofing’s second office, on busy Easton Road in Willow Grove. A woman on her way to work at a nearby office saw the sign and walked over, looking to get an estimate.
Across the street from Trump Roofing, Caroline Sippel said she’s used to people inquiring about her business’ catchy name. She owns Tom Sawyer Tire & Auto Repair.
“Yeah, everybody says, ‘What are you guys, Mark Twain fans?’” Sippel said.
Tom Sawyer, like Trump, was a real person, the auto shop’s previous owner.
“I’m not surprised someone named their business after Trump,” Sippel said. "It will certainly catch people’s attention.”
Wade’s business sign features a cartoon Donald Trump, and he printed the president’s likeness on shirts, too. He also made red MAGA-like hats with his company’s slogan.
The president “doesn’t own the word Trump,” Wade said. “He doesn’t own a roofing company or have any stake in a roofing company.”
Trump Roofing employs eight people, full time, and Wade has four subcontracted crews to do work, as well, because he’s so busy.
He said he’s aware that some people might not hire him because of the name. Once, when he was blanketing a neighborhood with door-hanger advertisements, one man demanded he take it off. Still, Wade’s playing odds.
“You might be alienating 50% of the people, but like any business, if you get 1% of the 50, you’re making millions of dollars,” said Wade, who has six daughters.
If Wade’s looking to make a deal with a Democrat, he’ll admit that there are “certain good things” about Trump “and certain bad things.”
“I mean, we all know that,” he said. “He’s got good traits, as long as he keeps his mouth shut.”
Wade gives customers Trump Roofing lawn signs, which look a lot like Trump/Pence political signs. He also gives them money for referrals. He bought one customer a 65-inch television for Christmas.
“Overall, the reaction’s been pretty great,” he said. “One woman, when she saw the sign, said: ‘I knew he did walls. I didn’t know he did roofs, too.' ”