How Small Firms Can Defuse a Political Threat and Blunt a Boycott

Big retailers including L. L. Bean, New Balance and Nordstrom have recently been caught in the cross hairs of polarizing politics that have affected sales.

But unlike corporations with crisis management firms at their behest, small-business owners have to rely on their own wits to respond and salvage sales and relationships.

Ms. Morgenthau responded by email to the Trump supporter, hoping to build rapport. “We are not and never have been hostile to any human being,” Ms. Morgenthau’s letter began. It ended with these words: “Just remember you belong here.”

Next, Ms. Morgenthau posted the threatening letter and her response on the shop’s Facebook page, which ended up getting hundreds of supportive comments from people across the country. She also posted information with the local business association.

“There needed to be some…

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