Editor’s Note: this interview was conducted via Zoom on 08/09/2021.
Garrit: So, first off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Tim: Sure, let’s see. I’ll try to make it interesting—I’m kind of a boring person. I’m a widowed father of two twin boys that just got out of the Army. Actually, they went straight out of high school. I have lived in Texas for about 99% of my life. I was born in Michigan and got here as fast as I could, obviously, like everyone else. I was never into politics or voting at all. As a matter of fact, the first time I voted was in the 2018 midterms. I just never really followed it or paid much attention to politics. I was under the assumption that if it doesn’t affect me personally then I don’t care. You guys do whatever you want. I never talked about politics either. So, at least I was on the right page that if I didn’t vote then I had no voice. My whole family, my dad, myself, and my grandfather, we’ve all owned businesses—small businesses. My grandfather has a lighting store in Michigan. Michigan, of course, had their bad times and they went under. My dad owned two lighting stores here back in the late 70s and early 80s. Of course, when the housing market crashed, he lost his businesses. I owned a vape store in Cedar Hill for about three years and just got out of it. I got out of it because it’s…I got into it when it was new…and now the market has been flooded. So, I know the feeling everyone has been a small business. To me, it was a big jump from going from a steady paycheck every week to “oh my God, I gotta pay 5 to 8 employees every week not knowing if I’m going to get paid.” This definitely ain’t a vacation. I’m working 15 hours a day instead of 8. So, I’m still living in Texas. I started the POB (Patriot Owned Businesses) group and I’m just pushing to help people out.
Garrit: So, what do you do now? Do you still run or own a business?
Tim: No, I actually work for a construction company. I’m a project manager and we do insurance claim work.
Garrit: Ok, and you are the founder of Patriot Owned Businesses. Can you explain to me a little bit about what Patriot Owned Businesses is?
Tim: We started it as a small local group to help support small businesses and businesses that believe in patriotism. People always ask me “how do I know if I am a patriot owned business or not.” I said it’s pretty simple. You’re an American and you believe in the Constitution. That tells you everything. If they say yes, then you’re in. So, we started it just as a little local group. We found that…like when that started back in 2020, those places that we usually visited, because then we didn’t just pay any attention because you could just go anywhere you want to…you could tell which businesses were patriots and which ones were not. A lot of the places that we were going to, we don’t go there anymore. So, we’re having problems trying to figure out well. We can’t just walk in the door and go, “Hey, you know, it doesn’t matter who you voted for, but do you believe in the Constitution? Do you believe in America?” Well, great, we’ll eat or we’ll shop here. So, we figured that we would get a list together, give it a name, post it on Facebook, and then our friends and everybody will see. Over time, it has grown to not just a Texas or local thing but to a national scale.
Garrit: So, how does one join Patriot Owned Businesses? Can anyone join POB or is it strictly for business owners?
Tim: No, the premise now is, obviously we want as many businesses as possible to join, but we also want individuals so that they can see and go to these businesses. It’s turned into a great networking opportunity for businesses. It’s turned into a big circle where people are getting stuff from Patriot Owned Businesses, and then making it and then selling it to patriots. Again, it’s not just businesses, it is also individuals. To join, just go to our Facebook group and type in Patriot Owned Businesses. It’s a private group so just answer the questions. There is also our website patriotownedbusinesses.net. It has a signup form too. So, it’s pretty easy to join.
Garrit: So, while you work for a construction company, you also created Patriot Owned Businesses and know many other business owners. What problems did business owners face during the Covid shutdown?
Tim: The way that I look at it is when they started shutting down random businesses at the beginning for no reason except for using the word “essential.” I think that killed the small business market. And that was the start of it. Like Walmart… listen I will never downgrade a large corporation, you know kudos to you for living the American Dream and helping our economy…for example, when everything else got shut down I could still go to Walmart. However, I couldn’t get a haircut, or I couldn’t go to church. The thing that I found interesting, and I didn’t think about this until later, was that there are a lot of places like Walmart that are into “Ma and Pop” shops—not quite to that extent—but you know, variety shops like Walmart. The first day the shutdowns happened, Walmart already had a plan in place where you could only go down one aisle. They already had the stickers on the floor, and they were ready to go. Small businesses didn’t have that opportunity. These big corporations had to know something was coming down the pipe because even us at Patriot Owned Businesses when we get stickers made, I can’t get them in one day. And every Walmart already had professional stickers on the floor. They already had the stuff on the doors telling you that you had to wear a mask and social distance, and all that. So they were prepared for this. Your local drug store owned by “Joe and Bob American” was not ready for that. The small restaurants that had to close were not ready for that. Now, you look at the big corporate restaurants and businesses, they already had places set up for where you could order online and go pick it up. The one, for example, Mexican Restaurant down the road isn’t ready—if they even know how to set it up. To me, the shutdowns hurt a lot of these small businesses that probably go a week for a week, you know, just like a normal person goes paycheck to paycheck. These businesses have to pay their bills and employees. And, all of a sudden, one day, they are told that they have to completely close. Well, now you can carry out, or now you can open up to 50%. So, there is a little bit of money coming in and they still can’t pay their staff. Then, as Covid continued and everything supposedly opened up 100%, they can’t find anybody willing to work. These businesses that survived Covid are now closed because they can’t find anyone to work with. This is hurting them worse.
Garrit: Yes, so to that issue, why do you think people are not going back to work?
Tim: So in my personal opinion, the worst thing they did was raise unemployment and make it so easy for people to be unemployed. Now, to an extent, I can understand being unemployed. For these companies that were shut down, they have to make their funds somewhere. I think some states still have that boost, where they’re getting that extra money per week. And all the other incentives they get basically not to work, there’s no reason to go have a $12 job. When I’m making twice that just sitting at home on my butt, they don’t have to pay rent either because that’s being extended, so they just sit back and play this out. They have no need or want to work. There’s no initiative to go out and work. They would rather just complain and collect money from the ones like us that are working.
Garrit: Yep, so going off of that, what problems do you see as we enter the post-shutdown recovery?
Tim: I think the main thing is probably just these businesses…these small businesses and people, in general, trying to get back to what they were used to. I think that whole thing and this isn’t just on business owners, and even with patriots and people that never followed the mask mandates and lived their life, it instills a little bit of fear that what happens if it happens again? So, they are always going to have that in the back of their minds that if they made it through this recovery, even by the skin of their teeth, they’re always going to have it in the back of their mind that it’s going to happen again—which we’re seeing hints of right now with this Delta Variant or the alpha mode…Frederick…whatever they come up with next. I’ve seen it. People are now out wearing masks again. Walmart now has signs posted that they “strongly recommend wearing a mask.” Then, there’s the guy at the door of Walmart handing out masks with his sweaty bare hands. That’s a no for me. I’m out. So, these people and businesses are going to be very defensive about what they hear and see. They’ll know where their support comes from too. Another thing, going back to Patriot Owned Businesses, they know that they have our support, you know, if you’re open, we’re coming. If I need to get shoes, I’m going to order them from you. If I need, you know, my oil changed or new tires for my truck, I’m coming to see you. So, at least that gives them a little bit of relaxation, I guess, or a little bit of hope that there are people out there like them that will support them. One of the things that we run into is that people may be afraid to put our (POB) sticker on their establishment and possibly offend someone on the other side. Which, if they’re barely making it, I understand. But, sooner or later, we are all going to have to come together or these small businesses are going to fail. Even now, in the industry that I am in, we can’t buy certain types of lumber and drywall, and if we do, something that cost $15 six months ago now costs $98. All that cost is going up and it’s being reflected onto us. That’s another pullback. First, we were shut down. Second, we can’t find anywhere to work. Now three, we can’t sell you anything because we can’t find the materials and I’m going to have to charge you a crazy amount for it. Then, you’re going to blame us for raising our prices. So, it’s an uphill battle. It’s like climbing the sandy hill—you get five steps up and you slide right back down.
Garrit: Yeah, so continuing on with that, what are your thoughts on Biden’s economic performance?
Tim: As much as I know about that. I’ve tried to stay away from the mainstream media. Kind of going with that, what did you do with the 16 cents that you saved for the 4th of July?
Garrit: You know, I don’t think I ever got a chance to see that. You know, with inflation and everything, that 16 cents didn’t really matter.
Tim: That’s right. The last time I can even remember hearing the word “inflation” was probably two or three presidents ago because it used to be a big thing. It was even when I would watch the debates with my parents. That was always a big thing with Reagan and Carter. The same with Clinton and Obama. Now, it’s all you hear about. You know, there wouldn’t be inflation if (Biden) would stop spending money that we don’t have. So, he doesn’t really have an economic plan. His main thing, or whoever is pulling his string, is trying to use what we’ve been through as a stepping stone to make him look like he’s doing something. Like he’s saying “the job rates are the highest they’ve ever been.” Well, all of these “help wanted” signs are not signs of job creation. That’s trying to fill jobs that we used to have. So that’s not helping the economy at all, sending all this money to all these other countries and just spending godly amounts of money on unnecessary items at this point in time. They’re, they’re spending money like it’s glasses of water. They just keep printing it. I mean, we’re all smart enough to know that sooner or later that paper is not going to be worth anything. I don’t think he has a plan for anything—especially the economy. Tell me that you’re helping the economy, and I spend $98 per sheet of plywood that was $22 six months ago. I don’t know who you’re helping but it sure ain’t me.
Garrit: Yes, absolutely. I mean, as we just talked about, inflation was a big thing back in the Reagan and Carter eras. In fact, Biden is already being described as our modern-day Jimmy Carter, and I think that is very apparent now as we are entering the post-Covid recovery. Now, we are also hearing a lot about the Delta variant and possible future lockdowns.
Tim: This country, and this is my opinion, will not survive another lockdown. There’s already a great divide in this country, and if you try to lock us down again, then we won’t make it through it. There’s no way. Every city and every community will look like 1980s Detroit—just ghost towns and war zones. Even then, the politicians are just going back on their word. You know, how can you trust somebody that keeps telling you something different every day?
Garrit: So, it’s apparent that you and I are both against the shutdowns, and I can presume that Patriot Owned Businesses is also against the shutdowns. Many of these shutdowns were put in place by Governor Abbott. So, what are your thoughts on the Governor’s race? May I presume…I got your information from Robert West…that you are not Pro-Abbott?
Tim: I’m pro whoever wants to do the best for Texas. I won’t talk ill about somebody that I don’t know personally or haven’t had direct contact with. But, from what I’ve seen, Abbott is a great politician. He does and says what’s necessary to push his initiative that he believes his backers will approve of. I don’t understand with as strong as Texas is, and how Texas is so prideful, and with everything that we all stand for, how Abbott had the “cajones” at that time to even bring lockdowns into play. Because, you know, not every state is locked down. I believe that from what he said, leading up to that, he filled Texans with false information. Something that big and that devastating to an economy should not just rely on the few people that are in Austin. That should have been something brought up to every person that lives in Texas. Since then, everything that he (Abbott) has said is not believable. Like, he’s praising that he did constitutional carry. Well, 18 to 20 year-olds still can’t do that—they can go to war and shoot a 50 Caliber at the enemy but when they get back home they can’t carry a gun. Some of the bills that they’ve been trying to pass aren’t going through. They sit on his desk and the big talk now is when the Democrats left the state and he was threatening to arrest them. Well, he hasn’t done anything. He comes out swinging and does nothing. I think what he does personally is…obviously everybody knows who Ron DeSantis is, and that guy is a beast. Why is Texas following Florida? Texas should be leading. It’s like what Chad Prather said, tapping Ron DeSantis on the head and going “it’s okay, you’re playing catch up.” Instead, I think Abbott watches what DeSantis does, writes it down, and two weeks later does the same exact thing. That’s not what Texas is. Everybody looks to Texas for many reasons. You know, the next election that we’re going to have for our governor is going to be big with him. Depending on what happens there, what happens in the next presidential election, what’s happening in Texas, there are 49 other states and many countries are watching what’s happening in Texas right now. I don’t think Abbott has Texas citizens at heart for this. He has himself at the heart of this. We need somebody that’s not a politician, and we’ve got three great people running. If you could just take all three of them and squish them together, we’d have the perfect governor. Hopefully, even if it ends up being Abbott back in there, which obviously we hope it’s not, but hopefully what’s going on in this election might open his eyes a little bit.
Garrit: So, is there any particular candidate that you are leaning towards supporting?
Tim: You know, I’ve met, on a personal level, Chad Prather. I’ve met Don Huffines. I’ve heard West speak a few times. Maybe because he’s not a politician, and when I hear him speak it feels more meaningful, but my candidate would be Prather. He’s the epitome of a non-politician. He’s funny and he’s putting everything on the line to do what he is doing. Listen, I’ve met them a few times and read some of the stuff they put online and there’s no way that I could put up with what all three of them are probably putting up with. I think with Prather being a comedian and an online influencer that he probably gets a lot more backlash right now than the other two. I believe that he’s a stand-up guy and that he believes in Texas. So, he’s probably right up there at the top with Huffines running a close second. Huffines has done a lot of great stuff for Texas. I’ve met him and his son and they are very well-spoken. He’s got some great ideas. Unfortunately, I can’t speak that much on Allen West. I’ve heard him speak. He’s a great speaker, but I don’t know a lot about what he’s going for. It seems like I see the other two, and not just on social media, but the other two seem to be more out in the open. I’ve told everyone that I won’t use Patriot Owned Businesses as a platform to back a candidate—because it is not mine. There are now seven thousand members. So, I can’t use POB to endorse a candidate.
Garrit: Ok, so backtracking a little bit, you know we’re in an economy of wokeism, corporatism, and cronyism. Social media has dabbled a little bit into censorship. How have Patriot Owned Businesses been able to grow and operate in this environment?
Tim: I actually got put in Facebook Jail for two months—back when POB was small—and never got an answer as to why. I went back through and looked at all my stuff and there was nothing that warranted being banned. I was under a strict ban where I couldn’t like anything. All I could do was scroll through my feed. I couldn’t even get on messenger. It was right after what happened in DC. I don’t know why I was banned unless it was because I had friends that went. I didn’t go and I’ve never been to DC. But, they lumped me into that group and maybe found something on my Facebook and banned me. I couldn’t even check my groups at all. So, what I’ve learned since then, is with our influence on Facebook is we fly under the radar. So, if somebody wants to post something that I think might be an issue, that might raise some red flags. What I usually do is decline it and then send a message to the poster saying that “I can’t post this in this group.” Usually, the post doesn’t involve businesses. We’ve been tagged once, supposedly for false information, and the funny thing was that the post in question involved the word “vaccine.” The post was from a young lady that sells alternative medicines. She went back and took out the word “vaccine” and we haven’t had any problems since. So, I figured that if we keep what we do on POB below the radar then we can voice however we want. It’s kind of like guerrilla warfare. We’re playing behind the lines. But then when we’re face to face is when we come about, like at our events that we have our POB events. At our events, it is anything and everything.
Garrit: Ok, so we’ve also heard from the left that entrepreneurs and small business owners need to shut down, lock up, mask up, and require vaccinations for their employees. We’re told that if we don’t do this, if we question this, if we question the lockdowns, that we’re selfish and putting others at risk. I’ve been told that there’s a difference between the level of “compassion” and “empathy” between the left and the right. What is your response to this?
Tim: Anybody that tries to tell me what to do in my personal life, if it’s not my mother, or father, or a loved one, I’m not going to listen to them. I’m not going to listen to a paid politician try to tell me what’s good for me. If you had clear and honest proof of it working, and it does work, and we need to do this, then yes, you know, then I would agree with “Okay, maybe we need to do this.” It doesn’t work. You’re never going to see that on the mainstream media on how they don’t work. Being in the construction industry, a good example is when we’re blowing out that insulation, we have to wear those big masks with the filters on the side. The dust particles are very large. However, when the job was done and we took our mask off there was all, on your nose and around my mustache, black. So, this giant mask respirator couldn’t stop those particles, but you’re telling me this piece of cloth is going to stop the “deadliest virus in the world.” There’s no meaning behind it. I’m sure that’s giving them a false sense of hope that the government is there to help them. Well, the government didn’t help 99% of these people when they opened their business, and I don’t see the government signing the bottom of their lease, these people did it all on their own. They’ve made it. They continue to make it on their own, just like we’ve done since 1776. We don’t work for the government. The government works for us. More mandates and shutdowns will really destroy the country. You know, it was small businesses that built this country. As we already discussed, Walmart is not going to close. They are going to stay open. The small businesses are “damned if they do” and “damned if they don’t.”
Garrit: Yeah, so we’ve talked a little about wokeism and corporatism, your mission statement is about cultivating and preserving a certain set of American values and patriotism. So, how do we cultivate a culture of patriotism when our culture is shifting towards Marxism, and when we have corporations and the government in cahoots with one another, and when we have corporations working with the Communist Party of China to spread Marxist ideology through their products? How do we cultivate a patriotic culture when we have so much working against us?
Tim: I think a lot of that stems from a person’s self-worth and a person’s communication and being. I think a lot of that comes from a lot of younger folks your age, of which you are one of the ones that we regular Americans are proud of, but their sense of security stems from other people. They can’t think for themselves and have no reason to. So it’s easier just to pick up an initiative that pushes fear and hate than it is to pick up an initiative that’s full of love and compassion, which kind of is a difference between being a patriot and being a non-patriot if you look at the core of most people I’ve talked to over the months they are family-oriented. They spend time with their family. They’re not in front of their computer all of the time. Even if it’s a single-parent household, there’s still family involved in everybody’s lives. So, you see that this younger generation is not being raised on the values of respect and love of country. I think this is more reflective of their family figures than them. They’re brought up watching TV and their phones. The time spent watching TV and playing on their phones is a perfect opportunity for parents to sit them down, ask them questions, and discuss America and the Constitution and things like that. Now, most of these people don’t know anything about the Constitution, or the Founding Fathers, or what the stars on the flag represent. So, they’re brought in this way and they find friend groups brought up in a similar fashion. They join this “movement of change” because they think that this way is not working. They don’t do anything about it, but hey, nobody else does so it doesn’t matter. Now, if you ask a question on the other side, being constitutionalists and red-blooded Americans and you don’t know, then you have a problem. So, it’s easier for them to push that than it is for us to push ours because we would need answers. To your question though, as our group grows, we get an outpour of support, we have people show up to our events, and we have people asking questions. I think the most common response I get is that nobody knew that there were groups like POB or the Five Star Plan. So, as we grow, we need to connect with younger people.
Garrit: Yes, so my final question to you is do you have anything else to say? Do you have any parting words?
Tim: You know, we just hope that everybody comes out and joins our group. We want to let everyone know that the idea behind POB is not to make money. There’s a difference between a patriot and a pay-triot. Everything that we do there is free. We have t-shirts and stickers that we sell to help us move forward. Helping other businesses find other patriots is our small part in helping American patriots. We support the Constitution. We support America. And, we support patriots. We’re excited to grow and maybe we’ll get to a point where we will start to influence with stuff like the lockdowns. We definitely want to keep America as America. Garrit: Yeah, so thank you for sitting down with me. It has been a great pleasure.