MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Big Daddy Unlimited continues to experience community pushback at its new location coming to The Deck in Morgantown.
On Tuesday the gun store says they were contacted by the Monongalia County Deputy Sheriff’s Association for support with the Back to School fundraiser intended to raise money for clothing and school supplies for students going back to school on Aug. 23.
Big Daddy Unlimited then issued a challenge to their opposition, Protect Morgantown, over who could raise the most money for the fundraiser, with the loser ceasing operations in the area. You can see the initial challenge and Protect Morgabntown’s response here.
Protect Morgantown declined the challenge, saying “this is not a game,” in a statement made on Thursday. The organizer of Protect Morgantown, Jodi Hollingshead, was grateful the store is using its platform to help underserved kids in the community, but said it doesn’t change the fact that their presence in Morgantown makes the city less safe.
“This isn’t about that, we don’t find this to be a debate in any way. This isn’t a competition or a challenge, this is about the safety of our community,” said Hollingshead.
This follows Starbucks’ decision to back out of opening a location at the deck last month.
The co-owner of Big Daddy Unlimited Sherrie McKnight said they are not the source of any division in the community and will continue its support of the Back to School fundraiser. “We have six stores open, and this has never happened anywhere we have ever gone.”
Mcknight said she believes every claim Protect Morgantown has made against their business is untrue, and said they were never contacted by Protect Morgantown about their claims. Hollingshead said communication goes both ways.
Public Relations Coordinator for Big Daddy Unlimited, Nick Lahera, said that even though Protect Morgantown declined the challenge, they still plan on supporting the fundraiser.
“Even if they don’t officially accept our challenge, this is an amazing cause for an amazing organization that [Protect Morgantown] should still be participating in,” Lahera said.
When asked if Protect Morgantown is planning on participating in the fundraiser, Hollingshead said they are made up of members who do separate work for the community already.
“Protect Morgantown is comprised of people who have been working for this community for years. We will continue to do that, we continue to do that even as we work to keep Morgantown safe. So to insinuate that we don’t care about our community is quite frankly ridiculous,” Hollingshead said.
McKnight said that at the end of the day, money will be raised and kids will get their supplies. If you would like to donate, you can find the fundraiser here.