By Stan Bush

DENVER (CBS4) – Small companies that don’t sell firearms are finding themselves inside the debate over weapons anyway.

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(credit: CBS)

Last week REI announced they would stop future orders with Vista Outdoor Brands, a company that owns several of the most popular outdoor products like Camelback backpacks and Giro helmets.

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(credit: CBS)

The company also owns Savage Arms, which make high-powered assault-style rifles.

The move inadvertently puts other companies at the forefront for customers.

It also is giving smaller companies a chance to clarify their position, as consumers increasingly demand to know what is behind their favorite brands.

rei vista boycott 10pkg transfer frame 0 Companies Could Benefit From REIs Decision To Boycott Vista Outdoor

(credit: CBS)

“I think it’s impressive that companies of that scale, especially with great brands, that they make those choices,” said Mark Hansen, co-founder of Topo Designs, a Denver-based clothing and backpack retailer.

Some companies believe REI’s stance on firearms has given them a seal of approval.

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CBS4’s Stan Bush interviews Mark Hansen. (credit: CBS)

“I think that when companies like REI make choices like that it splits the playing field and there is some validation there,” Hansen said.

REI joined Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart in taking action against companies that sell high-powered firearms following the school shooting in Florida.

REI says Vista Outdoor Brands has not clarified how they’ll move forward, and REI has not committed to reordering their products.

“In my opinion brands have to earn that right,” said Hansen. “I look forward to the time Topo Designs can have that voice.”

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

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