A central New York business owner is blasting Claudia Tenney for using them as a photo op in her political campaign without asking permission.

Tenney stopped by Hollenbeck's Cider Mill and shared photos on her Claudia Tenney for Congress Facebook page. "We had a great day in Cortland County shopping at Trinity Valley Country Store and Hollenbeck's Cider Mill. No better way to spend a Fall afternoon."

That didn't sit well with the owners. "We try our best to keep pie, donuts, and cider apolitical," they shared. "But a candidate for office decided to use us as a prop in their political campaign without asking or even speaking to us when they stopped to use us as a photo-op."

The owners called Tenney out for using her political Facebook page rather than her personal one. "We called them out on it on their Facebook post and they hid our comment."

Photo Credit - Hollenbeck's Cider Mill
Photo Credit - Hollenbeck's Cider Mill

Claudia Tenney for Congress did reach out and comment on Hollenbeck's Facebook post.

I do stops similar to this one around 8 counties in Upstate New York to try and highlight local businesses and support them. We stopped by and bought cider and pumpkins. We did not imply that the business supported or endorsed me. While Hollenbeck's may not vote for me, I will still drink their excellent cider! Sorry for any hard feelings, and I wish your business the utmost success in this challenging environment. If the owners and/or employees would like to sit down with me in a serious fashion to discuss the issues most important to them-either as future representative or a fellow small business owner-I welcome the conversation.

Hollenbeck's claim Tenney never reached out to ask if she could use the business. "She just tried to hide the voice of her constituents."

There have been many other candidates who have stopped by Hollenbeck's this political season. "We've had good conversations with all of them. None of them used us as a campaign prop. It's strange that the candidate that didn't speak to us decided to use our business in their campaign," Hollenbeck shared on Facebook.

Hollenbeck's serves people with all different political views, which is why they don't endorse any candidates. "We want our staff to feel comfortable working here knowing we're not going to endorse someone they do not support. That is why being featured on a campaign's site with out our knowledge feels so offensive. If Chuck Schumer had come and done the same thing our post would be no different."

Hollenbeck's wants to focus on serving the community the best pie, donuts and cider rather than politics, but this may be one exception. "We as a business aren't planning on speaking out for any candidates. We are however against this one."

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