A Rock Hill store is drawing social media attention for marketing protective backpack inserts for children. The attention came this week following mass shootings at a school in Parkland, Fla.
Nichols Store began selling the inserts in October to police officers and nuclear plant workers, but is now promoting it as a way to protect children from gunshots and flying debris.
“After about the third night with no sleep, I was looking at them and started thinking, if those tactical type people can keep them in their backpacks, why can’t our children?” said Tina Nichols, who is part owner and handles marketing and advertising for the store.
Premier Body Armor, a North-Carolina based company, makes the Kevlar Level IIIA bulletproof inserts. Nichols Store began marketing the inserts about a month ago on its social media sites to children and parents. They posted an image of school-aged children wearing backpacks with the words “Because WE care and WHY NOT!”, along with the hashtag “notmychild.”
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The hashtag was created by Nichols and her contact at Premier Body Armor.
“We both were talking and he hashtagged me ‘not my child,’ and I hashtagged back ‘not my child,’ and I don’t want it to be my child either,” Nichols said.
Premier is promoting the product on its social media sites and has gained more than 600 likes and multiple comments on Facebook.
Many comments are favorable, while others question the use of inserts and their effectiveness against certain firearms, such as the assault rifle used Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Nichols Store posted multiple videos about the product in the past month. One video, featuring Nichols’ daughter, has more than 9,000 views on Facebook and multiple comments asking about the inserts.
Nichols said she started to see new uses for the inserts during the past month, following the shooting death of York County Detective Mike Doty and Peach Stand employee Karsen Whitesell, and the school shootings nationwide.
“It is just something that I truly believe in, it’s not 100 percent effective, but why not? Anything that can possibly save a child, I’m there for it,” Nichols said.
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Nichols Store, 1980 Mount Holly Road, Rock Hill, sells Premier Body Armor inserts. The inserts are promoted to withstand projectiles from weapons up to a .44 Magnum handgun, or flying debris in case of a natural disaster. The inserts have a five-year lifespan and weigh more than 1 pound. Cost is $149.99-$199.99.