REI is closed on Thanksgiving Day and also on Black Friday. The move got endorsed by 1 million Americans.
REI's Black Friday store closure announcement back end of October caused quite a stir. REI announced to keep stores not only closed on Thanksgiving Day, but also on Black Friday and pay its 12,000 employees to take the day off the busiest day in the year for the retail industry and enjoy the outdoors instead.
REI announced today that their unusual move has got the support of nearly 1 million for #OptOutside. To-date, more than 150 other companies, nonprofit organizations and agencies that support state and national parks are also encouraging people to spend Black Friday outside.
We have seen huge social activity around the announcements of state parks to wave entrance fees. We reported about Minnesota State Parks waiving entrance fees on Black Friday earlier this month.
As Thanksgiving approaches, REI plans to recognize the hundreds of thousands of people and partner organizations that are opting to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.
"The idea has struck a chord – far more than we expected," said Jerry Stritzke, REI president and CEO. "We did this to share our passion for reconnecting with the people we love, in the outdoor places we love. But honestly we are surprised by – and very grateful for – the number of groups joining in. Clearly people are looking to do something a bit different with their time. The folks at REI just want to get out to the trails, slopes and parks with our members. If you haven't yet shared your #OptOutside plans, let's get the number north of a million!"
Dozens of outdoor companies and retailers across industries have joined REI, encouraging their employees and customers to #OptOutside. Parks in a number of states across the country are encouraging people to get outside on Black Friday, with several offering free park passes on the day.
Other community groups continue to step up, offering local outings and access to trails and parks. For example, Meetup activated their network of Outdoor Meetups resulting in more than 350 Meetup organizers hosting #OptOutside Meetups all around the country. More than 5,000 people have signed up for the #OptOutside Meetups and the numbers are growing. Adventurers who would like to join can check online at meetup.com.
We will know if REI's move to keep stores closed on Black Friday will have positive effects in one year. If REI is again keeping its stores closed on Black Friday, the strategy has paid off. If they are open, the have lost a bunch of money by keeping closed on the busiest shopping days of the year.
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REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation's largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 5.5 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 143 stores in 35 states.