Sandwich Chain Closes Because Customers Can’t Stomach That Owner Met Donald Trump

September 21, 2018, 10:53 PM UTC

Hoagie sandwich chain Taylor Gourmet will close all 19 of its outlets largely due to a decline in sales after its co-founder attended an event last year led by President Donald Trump, according to Washingtonian.

A Taylor Gourmet spokesperson confirmed the closures in the article. Seventeen locations are in D.C. and surrounding areas and two more are in Chicago.

Fortune was unable to reach Taylor Gourmet for comment.

While real estate costs, rapid expansion, and competition may have been factors, Washingtonian cites several company insiders who noted that sales dropped after co-founder Casey Patten was photographed with Trump. One said sales plummeted 40% the following day and “never recovered.” A Taylor Gourmet spokesperson said revenue rebounded.

Patten faced the backlash after an event in January 2017 with the president at the Small Business Administration. Taylor gave a short speech to Trump about how the food industry relies on immigrants and the American-born children of immigrants for staff, and Patten’s desire to reduce regulations that would affect his employees.

A D.C. neighborhood site, PoPville, posted an item about Patten’s attendance and a link to a photo. A social-media furor resulted.

Patten said later that he is “apolitical,” and he used his opportunity with the president to push small-business issues. President Barack Obama appeared at one of Taylor Gourmet’s outlets in 2012, and spoke about challenges facing small businesses with Patten and co-founder David Mazza.