FAIRVIEW –– A sign posted outside a Collin County nail salon promoting it as "American Owned, American Staffed" is generating controversy.
The merchant defends her sign by saying it's a "patriotic business decision." But others believe it's focused more on what her Fairview business isn’t: Asian owned and operated.
Ed Thayer said he was offended when he saw the sign in the window of the St. Tropez Nail Spa. He's a regular customer at a Vietnamese restaurant next door. He and his wife adopted four girls who are Vietnamese-Americans.
Thayer said he was so upset, he went into the salon to confront the owner.
"I said, 'This sign here implies that the other salons around here that are owned by Asian-Americans are less American than you,'" Thayer recalled.
The salon owner, Diana Casey, said she never intended to offend anyone, but wanted to draw attention to her store.
"This is a business decision," she said. "It's just letting people know I'm American, and I speak English."
There are three Asian-owned businesses in the small strip shopping center along Stacy Road. Two of them said the sign made them uncomfortable.
"People come to America for the opportunity to have a better life," Casey said. "That's why they're here. And if they're American citizens, they're Americans. That's all I have to say about it. This is not about anything else other than Americans."
Thayer said he would pay the salon owner to replace the sign with something less offensive.
"I've done a lot for my country," he said. "I served it, and I'm proud to be an American. But I'm not proud to use that as a way of putting somebody down who wasn't born here."
But Casey isn't budging, saying her sign isn't offensive. She saId her customers are behind her.