REI suspends relationship with Vista Outdoor after anti-NRA boycott

Friday , March 02, 2018 - 5:43 PM3 comments

FARMINGTON — The outdoor retail giant Recreational Equipment Inc. has put its relationship with Utah-based Vista Outdoor on hold.

Vista Outdoor owns brands like Savage Arms, which manufactures assault-style rifles similar to the weapon used to kill 17 students and educators in the Parkland, Florida, shootings.

 

Calls went out on social media last week to boycott Vista’s brands as anti-NRA consumers push for changes to gun control regulations. A petition to REI calling on the retailer to stop selling Vista products also began circling last week.

RELATEDUtah-based Vista Outdoor brands in crosshairs of anti-NRA consumers

“REI does not sell guns. We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month,” the company said in a press release Thursday evening. 

Retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart raised the minimum age for customers to buy firearms this week, which REI applauded. REI said it had “active” conversations with Vista Outdoor about its customers’ concerns but learned the company doesn’t plan to issue a statement on the matter or set “a clear plan of action.”

“As a result, we have decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds,” the statement said. “Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that.”

Calls to Vista Outdoor’s Farmington headquarters were not returned.

REI’s decision came the same day Canadian retailer MEC also decided to stop carrying Vista Outdoor brands. REI is the largest consumer co-op retailer in the U.S., with six million members and 147 stores, including two locations in Utah.

Vista began acquiring several popular outdoor brands when it formed in 2015, including CamelBak, Camp Chef, Bell and Giro.

Contact Reporter Leia Larsen at 801-625-4289 or llarsen@standard.net. Follow her on Facebook.com/leiainthefield or on Twitter @LeiaLarsen

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