An East Tennessee restauranteur made her position on a divisive issue clear when she posted a prominent “Guns are Welcome” sign at the eatery’s entrance. She was rewarded with an increase in sales.
“As the owner, I wanted to stand my ground,” said owner Sharma Floyd, according to local NBC affiliate WBIR. “I have that constitutional right. If you like it, that’s great, if you don’t, I’m sorry for you. I can’t change who I am.”
She got the idea from reading the account of a North Carolina business that took the exact opposite position.
“They had put up a sign that said ‘No Weapons Allowed’ and they were robbed at gunpoint two days later. The convenience store manager was shot,” said Floyd. “And that got me thinking. I lost a whole group of motorcyclists because they thought I didn’t allow weapons. But I believe it’s ok to carry as long as you have a permit.”
She has but one proviso — no alcohol will be served to a customer who’s carrying.
“If they say ‘Yes, I have an ankle strap on’, I say ‘Sorry, then you can’t drink,'” Floyd confirmed. “We sell very, very little beer here, but we do offer it. I don’t have a liquor license. I won’t get a liquor license,” she added.
Floyd admitted naming her family-friendly restraint the Shiloh Brew and Chew was probably a mistake. People associate it with beer and tobacco.
“Brew is for coffee, chew is for food. So in my mind, my concept all went together. But after I made a $3,000 sign and paid for it, I realized that was not a good marketing idea,” laughed Floyd. “But the ‘Guns are Welcome’ signs have helped boost business.”
She knows of only one customer she lost as a result of her policy.
“I can honestly say I’ve gotten way more support than the one person who really gave me a lot of grief over it,” said Floyd.
Watch the news report of Floyd and her sign.