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Local bike shops boycott company with NRA ties

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Some local bike shops are taking a stand against the National Rifle Association by boycotting products sold by a company that also manufactures weapons and has ties to the NRA.

The owner of Sellwood Cycle Repair said he had been watching other companies cut ties with the NRA and when he found out there was a way he could do that in his own shop, he decided to take action.

“In a representative democracy, we can vote with our dollars,” Erik Tonkin said. “It’s about doing something intentional that’s in line with my value system.”

Tonkin said it’s not often that small business owners can take a direct stand on an issue as big as school shootings, but when students impacted by the mass shooting in Florida began speaking out against the NRA — he and the owner of Gladys Bikes in Northeast Portland took notice. 

“I think it’s inspired me and a lot of folks to do more,” Leah Benson said. 

Benson and Tonkin have decided to stop carrying helmets and accessories from Giro, Bell and Blackburn. Tonkin said those brands were purchased by Vista Outdoor a few years ago.

“They are an incredibly large supplier of ammo and a proud supporter of the NRA, which is not something that is in line with the values of our shop so we decided as a bike shop just to stop carrying their products,” Benson said. 

He said it will be a bit challenging to adjust inventory because his is a larger shop, but he’s committed to the process.

Giro helmets at Sellwood Cycle Repair in SE Portland. (KOIN) 

“It’s not easy for me, but trying to take a stand and providing some sort of leadership isn’t always easy,” Tonkin said.

Benson said she will liquidate what remains on her shelves. 

“We are going to continue to sell the products we have from those brands, but we are going to donate all the proceeds to Everytown for Gun Safety as a way to ethically spend that money,” Benson said.

There are 6 local bike shops joining this boycott. Vista Outdoor has not responded to a request for a comment.

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