Vista Outdoor Inc has just announced a “strategic business transformation plan” that includes seeking buyers for popular bike brands Bell, Giro, and Blackburn.
The move comes just over two months after the company came under severe scrutiny in the bike and outdoor industries for its financial support of the National Rifle Association and its distribution of assault-style weapons. [Read more…]
Pressure on Vista Outdoor Inc. has ramped up in the past week.
Last Friday we reported that several local bike shops decided to stop selling products from CamelBak, Bell Sports, Giro, Blackburn, Raskullz and CoPilot following revelations that their parent company — Vista Outdoor Inc. — has close ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and also owns brands that sell gun products and ammunition.
“We will no longer purchase products from companies owned by Vista Outdoors. We will be donating proceeds from the remaining inventory we have of Giro helmets to Everytown for Gun Safety.” — Leah Benson, Gladys Bikes
Revelations this week that several major bicycle brands are owned by Vista Outdoor — one of America’s largest sellers of assault weapon ammunition and accessories, and a staunch supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA) — has sent shockwaves through the Portland bike scene.
We’ve heard from several readers who now plan to boycott products from Bell Sports, Giro, Blackburn Design, CamelBak, Raskullz, and Copilot. But for bike shop owners who sell helmets, racks, packs and child seats, the issue is much more complicated. Some say they’ll boycott the brands until ties to the NRA are severed, others say they’ll steer clear of them in the future, and one was in such a moral quandary, they asked to remain anonymous.
Immediately after our story posted we heard from several Portland shops who said they’ll boycott all Vista Outdoor brands.
Clever Cycles, who doesn’t currently sell any Vista Outdoor products, wrote on Twitter that it’s, “Terrible to hear that a company pedaling child seats and safety equipment is also supporting an industry of terror,” and, “We are proud to not carry any products that @VistaOutdoorInc distributes.” Go By Bike owner Kiel Johnson shared that, “We won’t sell those brands either!” Mel Birgé who owns Recumbent PDX says, “I would never knowingly sell products from a weapons manufacturer. We didn’t sell Bell, Giro or Blackburn and now we won’t start.” [Read more…]
Last night Aaron Naparstek shared via a Twitter thread that Vista Outdoor — parent company of many well-known bicycle product brands like CamelBak, Giro, Bell, CoPilot, and Blackburn — also owns brands that sell assault weapons and ammunition. Moreover, the company is a proud supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Vista Outdoor and Action Sports Logos (PRNewsFoto/Vista Outdoor Inc.)
Given the current tenor and seriousness around the gun control issue, the news has spread quickly in cycling circles with some people calling for a boycott.
In early 2015 Vista was hailed as the, “biggest company in the outdoor recreation sector,” by the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine. But in the past few years they’ve purchased several non-gun-related brands in a bid to diversify their business.
With their shooting sports business hurting badly, Naparstek thinks boycotting their bike-related brands “could really hurt them.” Several of our friends on Twitter have said they will, reluctantly, stop buying Vista-owned brands completely.
“I own products from several of these brands and I’ll continue to use them,” said Portlander Andy Kutansky, “but I’ll take a hard look when it’s time to replace – and I urge everyone to do the same.”