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BROWNSDALE, Minn. — It is not just Washington where talk about guns is going on. You do not have to look much further than your local Starbucks store.
“Starbucks is not a policy maker and that we are not pro or anti-gun, we just believe our customers and our people will be much more comfortable if guns are not a part of the Starbucks experience,” said Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.
He issued that statement earlier this month after his coffee chain was pushed into the public debate over gun laws.
While you are asked not to take your gun into Starbucks, you are more than welcome to on Thursdays at one Minnesota café. That policy is making waves across the country.
Brownsdale has a population of just over 650 people, but one small-town cafe is giving them some national attention.
“Our story’s played in New Zealand and a lot of other places around the world, so I guess it’s more unique than I thought it would be,” said Steve Nagel, owner of Langtry Café in Brownsdale.
Unique is right. There are not many businesses that allow guns, let alone encourage them, but that is Nagel is offering; a discount for customers with guns who stop in on Thursdays.
“It started off as kind of a joke that if you come in and open carry, I’ll give you 25 percent off on Thursdays, so that’s how that got started,” Nagel said.
Things are still going well after more than six months. That is because the small town customers are coming out to support the cause and get a good deal.
“I’m all for it, I know there’s people out there that don’t like it and that’s their right. If they don’t agree, then that’s their right,” said DuWayne Skov of Brownsdale.
He shows his support in a different way than most.
“I don’t as a rule, take the discount on the thing, because I want him to stay in business anyway, but I’ll use it occasionally,” Skov said.
Nagel said while many are shying away from guns, he does not want people to be concerned with what he is doing.
“The conceal and carry people aren’t the people that we should be worried about. It’s not going to affect the outcome of a mall shooting in Kenya or even a naval shooting here in the United States. It won’t have an effect by taking a gun away from me,” Nagel said.
That is exactly why many customers are coming back week after week to take advantage of the deal.
“Steve’s doing a great job of promoting, not necessarily guns in themselves, but just the right to be able to do this,” Skov said.
Nagel said it may keep some from coming through their doors, but the number of new customers he has gained because of it is even better.
The Langtry Café is not the only place in the nation to do something like this, although their discount is a bit larger. The Cajun Experince in Virginia offers a ten percent discount for diners with guns.