A grocery store chain in Arkansas drew national attention after including a message about immigration policy atop a recent advertisement.
Mac’s Cash Saver, which has locations in Camden, Magnolia and El Dorado, published an ad on Facebook on Wednesday morning with a statement near the top that reads “Heaven has a wall, a gate and a strict immigration policy. Hell has open borders. Let that sink in.”
The businesses, which are part of a grocery store chain with a corporate office in Louisiana, regularly include messages in their advertising. Reggy McDaniel, who owns the chain, said the ad was not about the recent political debate regarding U.S. immigration, but about people’s salvation.
“This ad was only intended for one purpose,” McDaniel said. “To point people to Jesus Christ.”
McDaniel, a 70-year-old Baptist, said the message was meant to encourage shoppers to consider that not everyone will get into heaven. He said he never expected people to take the words any other way.
The store owner said he drew the statement from a post he’d seen on Facebook. Often, he pulls quotes for his ads from television, sermons and social media, he said, and that his intention throughout has been to share his religious beliefs with others.
McDaniel said that, though he’s been writing messages in his advertisements for 20 years, this is the biggest response he’s received, with calls coming from outside of the states in which his stores operate.
In Magnolia, a Cash Saver there has received calls from other parts of the state and beyond, with some coming from Tennessee, according to Dustin Robertson, the store’s manager.
On Facebook, Cash Saver’s ad received roughly 90 comments and reactions as of Monday at 3 p.m., though comments about the ad’s message had spilled over into other posts on the store’s page. Similar posts on Mac’s Fresh Market, also owned by McDaniel. have received over 300 comments and nearly 600 reactions. A post on Reddit about the ad has received at least 43,000 votes.
Many Facebook commenters wrote in support of the store’s message.
“Great add [sic],” Terry Woodside wrote. “Wonderful when Christians stand and stand TOGETHER!”
“Nice to see a business stand up for what they believe in!!! The ad is AWESOME,” Jeremy Ganes wrote.
Many others, however, wrote their opposition.
“Yes, Heaven has an immigration policy,” Matthew Rohrbaugh wrote. “However, it also has no quotas, welcomes those seeking asylum, doesn’t care what country you came from, and admits you instantaneously upon qualification.”
Lynda Jean wrote, “Freshest Meat & Produce Around. Also the Most Closed and Racist Minds around.”
McDaniel said the posts haven’t impacted his business, and that he’s been transparent with customers whenever concerns appear.
“I have never run from it,” he said. “I’ve always talked to my customers, my whole life. They know what my faith is, they know who I am.”
At the Magnolia store, Robertson said business that although he’s received both positive and negative calls regarding the ad, his store hasn’t received any complaints from customers.
“If anything, it’s given us publicity,” he said. “It got our name out there a little more than what it would have. I definitely don’t think that was the intent behind it, but it’s definitely caused that.”