The Acadiana Mind Behind Trump MAGA Hats and Gear
Christl Mahfouz is bubbly, friendly and smart. She was honored this week by Junior Achievement of Acadiana for her work as the President and CEO of Ace Specialties. You may not know the name, but you are sure to know the product that put her business on the map. The "Make America Great Again" movement that propelled President Trump into office started, in part, inside the mind of Mahfouz.
She was desperate for a way forward. Her company, which was started in 2007, had fallen on hard times along with many in Acadiana. Her business revolved around orders from oil and gas customers who needed branded uniforms, stationery and just about everything else you can imagine. She is deeply faithful and admits to praying near-constant novenas for some divine guidance on what to do next. She had no idea how big that "something" was going to be.
After Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency, the bright idea came to her. Mahfouz wanted to provide the Trump campaign with all of its branded merchandise and she wanted all of it to be made in America. Her small team conceptualized and created the fundraising items and put a box (including the Make America Great Again hats) in the mail to the campaign headquarters in Trump Tower. It obviously went over well, because she was invited to New York to do a presentation in-person to campaign staffers including Eric Trump. That meeting ended with candidate Trump meeting her and Ivanka Trump giving her a high five. She also had a deal that had a major stipulation- everything had to be made in America and it had to be shipped using the United States Postal Service.
At the height of the 2016 campaign, Mahfouz says they were making 10,000 shipments per day. In the time since Ace Specialties has had to move twice before landing at their current location on Beau Pre Road near the airport in Lafayette. It's more than 40,000 square feet of storage and now Ace is doing much of its own manufacturing. It's a massive amount of infrastructure that will no doubt be put to the test in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.
Listen to Christl Mafouz's interview with Rob and Bernie on Acadiana's Morning News.