The Skuby & Co. clothing store in Spring Lake Wednesday morning was humming.
Bill Skuby, the store's owner who made regional fame Tuesday for a controversial window display featuring President Barack Obama portrayed as a witch doctor, was answering the phone, which rang every minute or two, with a warning to callers that he'd be happy to talk so long as they were friendly.
Skuby said he opened shop that morning with dozens of messages — some supportive, others somewhat profane — on the store's answering machine because of a politically-charged Halloween display some have accused of being racist.
Skuby, a self-described Independent, denies being a racist.
“I don’t even see color," Skuby said.
Skuby said that he dislikes Obama's presidency and policies, not his skin color.
Skuby said he's voted for both Republicans and Democrats, including every Democrat on the Spring Lake council.
The clothier on Wednesday dealt with death threats and accusations of racism, but he also enjoyed a surge in business.
“It’s the best marketing campaign I’ve ever done," Skuby said.
Orders from across the country were coming in for anti-Obama hats Skuby had made up after the president's "You didn't build that" statement that became a Republican target.
The hats, Skuby said, were intended to mean, "For your business owner," but the acronym — F.U.B.O. — adopted, however unintended, a more vulgar version.
Foot traffic also worked its way into the store, and seemed a mix of regular shoppers and those who came to see things for themselves.
But Skuby said the neighboring businesses and town officials were pressuring him to take down the Obama display.
Skuby even agreed that all the commotion damaged the image of the entire town, but he remained adamant about keeping the sign in place.
“People want me to leave,” he said.
Skuby said an anonymous caller contacted his vendors to tell them about the display and get them to cease doing business.
Several vendors visited the store and take a look, but Skuby said none have stopped selling him product.
Skuby said he was done speaking to reporters who would twist his words and paint him as a racist.
“All of a sudden I’m racist, and this town is racist," he said.
Skuby said he was hoping to get an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News.