Manager questions Groupon's decision to stop gun-related deals

by: Shae Rozzi Updated:

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The operations manager of Range, Guns & Safes on Pleasantdale Road in DeKalb County told Channel 2’s Shae Rozzi that Groupon, the popular social coupon website, backed out of a promotion that was supposed to start running on Monday.

“It has to be political,” David Aldea told Rozzi.  “If it was done by markets and reasons for numbers, they would’ve done it case by case, but when they do it as a big blanket across the nation, it’s obvious that it was done for a different reason. It has to be political.”

Aldea showed Rozzi a box full of Groupon coupons that customers had redeemed in recent days. He said that they usually sold out of the 2,000 or more Groupon coupons that they’ve offered during the last three promotions that they’ve done with online company over the last year.

“We’ve got 98% approval ratings, high numbers. They loved it, people love it and we’re getting all kinds of good reviews over it,” Aldea said.

A representative from Groupon responded to Aldea’s concerns in an email and stated that the decision by the company to no longer run promotions with firearms business “wasn’t political,” but based on “significantly less interest” by customers.

In an email to Rozzi, a Groupon representative sent a quote from spokeswoman, Julie Mossler.

"Groupon has been testing firearm-related deals like shooting ranges and concealed weapons courses for the last eight months.  Based on performance and customer feedback, it's clear they're not a fit right now,” Mossler said.

The shooting range at the DeKalb County business was full when Rozzi and her photographer were shooting their story.

Aldea indicated that at least half the people using the range came in using a Groupon deal.

Rozzi met Natalie Bovi and her boyfriend when they just finished shooting.

Bovi said that she bought a Groupon deal worth $48 for $19 which covered a gun rental, ammunition, protective gear and use of the shooting range for an hour.
“It was for his Christmas Present. It was on Groupon and we were just looking for things to do,” Bovi told Rozzi.

Another customer, Sovannary Thin, told Rozzi that she learned about the business and its location through Groupon and was excited to try it out.

She was disappointed to learn about Groupon’s decision.

“Groupon is going to be missing out on this is all I can say,” Thin said. “A lot of females need to learn how to protect themselves and be armed.”

Ranges, Guns & Safes will now be turning to other website marketing companies to run their next promotion.

“We’d like to stay with Groupon because the performance has been good, as a business they function very well,” Aldea said. “We’ve had the best performance with them so to see them take an about face with us on the concept of it being a firearm is very disheartening and kind of crushing because we put a lot of faith into them.”



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