REI suspends relationship with Vista Outdoor after anti-NRA boycott

by Susie Olson March 4, 2018, 4:37
REI suspends relationship with Vista Outdoor after anti-NRA boycott

REI's decision came the same day Canadian retailer MEC also chose to stop carrying Vista Outdoor brands.

In this video essay, Paula Simons looks at the social media lobby campaign, created to convince MEC stop selling popular lines of sporting good made by VISTA, a company whose product lines include ammunition and guns, including the AR-15, the type of rifle that claimed so many lives in Parkland, Florida two weeks ago, and in Las Vegas previous year.

MEC chief executive David Labistour announced it was suspending further orders with the five brands owned by Vista Outdoor which it carried - Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef and Jimmy Styks.

Gunmaker American Outdoor Brands Corp., formerly known as Smith & Wesson, said consumer demand is falling to "new, lower levels", during a conference call Thursday evening. This time around, it was more emotional and opinions were all over the place.

"We speak about living in an exponential world", Mr. Labistour said in an interview. I will never set foot in a MEC store again. "It nearly could be a competitor thing to do this, to force them to change their stock", said Nigel, a MEC member.

Mountain Equipment Co-op opens a second city location at South Edmonton Common in Edmonton, Saturday, November 12, 2016.

Labistour said thousands of the co-op chain's members pressured the company to ditch Vista following the Parkland massacre. Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) stopped the sale of assault-style guns altogether, and banned the sale of high-capacity magazines along with the sale of weapons to those under 21. What MEC is masterful at in terms of their product lines is they offer a finite set of options and price points and when you become a MEC member, you understand that.

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Although MEC has severed ties with one of the major corporations in the US, it said it will continue to work with companies whose values align with that of MEC, which believes in "demonstrating leadership and leveraging the power of community".

The outdoor industry has seen a lot of merger and acquisition activity in recent years and MEC has not looked at what the implications have been, Labistour said.

MEC had long-standing connections to brands such as CamelBak, which predate current corporate ownership.

Calls for boycotts spread especially quickly in the cycling community, where Camelbak products have always been prolific, and Vista Outdoor's helmet brands are well-known.

A number of US companies have changed their gun-sale policies after a gunman armed with a semi-automatic AR-15-style assault rifle killed 17 people at a Florida high school last month. Over the last five days, its stock has dropped more than 15 percent.

"When the consumers speak with their wallet, people listen", he said.

Fast-growing social media campaigns leveled against the powerful National Rifle Association have moved other corporations to implement new gun policies as well, including Walmart, Dick's Sporting Goods, Kroger and LL Bean.

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