NAMPA — Beating out nine other companies nationwide, the Nampa-based Cordova Coolers was recently named the official cooler of the National Rifle Association.
“Some people, quite frankly, were shocked that a little company from Idaho got the nod like that,” said Cordova owner Doug McMaster.
Cordova Coolers was founded in 2014 in Walla Walla, Washington, and moved its headquarters to Nampa in 2016. More recently, Cordova has a new 10,400-square-foot warehouse in the works behind its Nampa headquarters, which McMaster said will increase their production.
McMaster said previously, Yeti was the official cooler of the NRA, until earlier this year when the company announced it was eliminating its discount program for NRA members and several other organizations, sparking outrage among gun owners.
It was the latest in a national trend of organizations cutting ties with the NRA as part of a boycott, although Yeti officials did not say their decision was meant to be directed at the NRA. Regardless, the backlash led some gun owners to destroy Yeti products, including exploding Yeti coolers.
The controversy also brought about a flood of calls to the Cordova Coolers headquarters from brick-and-mortar stores and individual consumers who were curious to see where the Nampa-based company stood on the gun rights debate. Cordova historically has been supportive of the NRA.
McMaster said he has been a member of the NRA for over 20 years. He and others were happy to be recognized by the organization.
“We were honored and tickled to death,” McMaster said.
Cordova gives a percentage of the profits of every cooler they sell to the NRA. Some of the coolers they sell feature the NRA logo, as well.
McMaster said since the Yeti controversy, he hasn’t experienced any negative feedback for supporting the NRA, but he has heard plenty of positive feedback. Immediately following the controversy, former owner Scott Campbell Jr., who was a captain from the show “Deadliest Catch,” said Cordova’s profits increased by about 25 percent, which McMaster said eventually tapered off entering the fall.
McMaster said he believes Cordova had the edge over other companies hoping to be endorsed by the NRA because much of Cordova’s merchandise, including all of their hard-lined coolers, are made in the U.S. He said coolers are one of the hardest things to build in the plastic industry, and they’re more expensive to build inside the country, which is why more companies don’t do it.
“There’s a lot of black magic involved,” McMaster said.
The benefit behind Cordova being recognized by the NRA is that it will help get the company’s name out there, McMaster said.
Editor's note: This story has been updated as of Nov. 30, 2018.