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Dealers cut ties with YETI

Decision fueled by company’s feud with NRA

Yeti Coolers, a favorite brand among outdoor enthusiasts, has cut some ties with the National Rifle Association and now, local outdoor stores are cutting ties with Yeti.

Yeti makes high-end coolers and drinkware. On Friday, former NRA president Marion Hammer wrote a letter on behalf of the NRA-Institute for Legislative Action, saying that YETI had suddenly and without prior notice declined to do business with the NRA Foundation.

Hamner wrote that Yeti would no longer sell to the NRA Foundation; Yeti has said it notified the NRA Foundation and a number of other organizations that they were eliminating outdated discounts, and that it would continue to support the Second Amendment.

Fletcher’s Outdoors released a statement on Tuesday saying that it had pressed Yeti for information since Monday morning, but had not received any answers.

“I talked to a Yeti spokesperson yesterday,” manager Anthony King said Wednesday. “They rejected every single question that I asked them.”

King said his questions included whether or not the NRA would be offered other promotional programs, and the names of other organizations whose promotional discounts were being cancelled.

“I just felt like the statement Yeti made lacked meat and potatoes,” King said. “If you are going to come out and make a statement then you need to tell the whole story.”

Fletcher’s Outdoors sells firearms and King said he supports the Second Amendment in its entirety.

“99 percent of people that shop at Fletcher’s are pro-gun,” King said. “And I believe 60 to 70 percent of the people that buy Yetis are going to be pro-gun so I think they are in a massive damage control situation.”

Yeti was founded by Roy and Ryan Seiders in Dripping Springs, Texas, in 2006. Since 2012, the company has been under ownership of New York private equity firm Cortec.

“I think they are forgetting where they came from,” King said. “They were made in Texas by God fearing, gun-toting conservatives and I think they are discounting all of our intelligence who support the NRA.”

Fletcher’s Outdoors will begin discounting all Yeti coolers and has frozen all incoming Yeti orders, some of which have been booked for three to six months.

“We are sitting on about $55,000 of Yeti merchandise right now,” King said. “And we are going to get rid of everything that we have and donate all the profits to the NRA Foundation.”

King challenged other area gun stores to follow suit and they have.

Custom Collars of Opp posted on their Facebook page that they were cutting ties with the YETI and liquidating all Yeti merchandise.

“If they are not going to support people who support them, then we are going to liquidate everything,” assistant manager Justin Messick said.

Custom Collars manufactures dog collars with G.P.S. tracking to help hunters track their dogs.

“The first thing you see on a dog hunter’s dog box on their truck is a cooler,” Messick said. “And nine times out of ten, it is going to be a Yeti cooler, so like I said, if they aren’t going to support us then we don’t want to support them.”

Casey’s Propane Gas Company is also a Yeti vendor, selling not only coolers, but hats, T-shirts, and tumblers. But since the NRA announcement, the company has realized the products will lose appeal.

“I don’t want to get too deep into it, but we are probably going to follow suit and not sell it anymore,” a part-owner of Casey Propane said. “The people that buy Yeti from us probably are going to boycott it so it’s not going to be smart to sell it anymore.”

Several NRA supporters are expressing their anger via social media by posting videos of themselves blowing up Yeti products with their firearms with the hashtag #YetiAintReady and #YetiCoolerChallenge.