Brandon Pledger has always viewed service to the community and others as a foundation for his life. The Chattooga County native served in the Marine Corps and later with the Rome City Police Department. In February 2021, he and his wife, Misty, an Army veteran serving on the Floyd County Police force, opened Combat Market.
The store features merchandise from veteran-owned companies. Pledger especially seeks out other small vendors to supply the inventory for the store. Merchandise available includes apparel, coffee and drinkware, men’s grooming supplies, and unique specialty items. They have collaborated with several vendors, including Woobie Brothers Apparel, Shooter Lube, and Savage Tacticians, to create unique items arriving later this year.
Combat Market moved to the thriving 200 block on Broad Street in April 2022, adding brewed coffee and guns. When asked about the unique combination, the Marine veteran quickly responded, “Everybody likes coffee and guns, so why not do them both?” The store features Blackout Coffee Company coffee exclusively. The brand is a small batch roaster out of Labelle, Florida. Combat Market is one of the few vendors licensed to brew and sell the product line. In addition to the unique merchandise and coffee bar, the store will begin incorporating guns and ammo into its business concept later this year after receiving the required permits from the ATF. Pledger will specialize in custom builds that will transform a purchased stock firearm to the owner’s specifications. Some gunsmithing will be performed in-house. However, most customization will be provided by select outside vendors.
In addition to his work at Combat Market, Pledger also creates custom wood and metal products. One of his pieces is located in the 500 block of Broad Street. Commissioned by the Downtown Development Authority of Rome, the large lighted ROME sign has become a favorite selfie backdrop for locals and visitors.
With the community’s support Combat Market has received, Pledger is dedicated to returning that support. For example, throughout the year, the company donates a percentage of sales from limited-run T-shirts and items to charitable associations. One of the company’s most successful events is the Thick Thigh Contest, where money is collected for the Coosa Fraternal Order of Police Christmas with Cops program. The second annual contest was recently completed with over $ 2,000 raised to help brighten the holiday season for local underprivileged children.
Brandon credits his military and law enforcement experience for much of his success. He says, “My time in the Marines and as a police officer helped me create an eye for detail which I have used in my business. Also, the discipline required in my previous positions has taught me to remain calm in situations others might find stressful.”
Combat Market is located at 214 Broad Street. For more information, follow them on social media.