REI announced on Tuesday that they would be making their practice of remaining closed on one of the biggest shopping days of the year permanent. The outdoor retailer would keep their headquarters and all stores, distribution facilities, activity centers, and call centers closed on each Black Friday from this year onwards. They have kept stores closed on Black Friday since 2015 but had recently announced it has turned the Opt outside day into a permanent employee benefit.
All of their distribution centers, activity centers and call centers, as well as their corporate headquarters, will be shuttered on the day after Thanksgiving. Shoppers would still be able to purchase on REI.com, but processing and fulfillment won’t begin until the following day. Opt Outside has always prioritized the experience of its employees, choosing the benefits of time outside over a day of consumption and sales. REI Co-op president and CEO Eric Artz announced this in a statement.
He advised when we first introduced this movement, it was considered revolutionary for a retail brand, but we felt it was also the right thing to do for our members and employees. Making Opt Outside an annual observance would serve as a yearly reminder of this commitment to doing the right thing for the co-op community. The Opt Outside platform is also a part of the REI Cooperative Action Fund. They also work to make outdoor culture feel more welcoming. The organization also distributes grants to non-profits such as Wild Diversity, Centre for Native American Youth, and Adaptive Adventures, focusing on promoting equity, belonging, and justice.
Opt Outside has grown to 16,000 employees and 21.5 million members since its introduction. Artz said they are a diverse and vibrant community united by a shared love for time outside. It would always be a constant for them, no matter their challenges. Opt Outside is an embodiment of their values. They value their employees so much. It is an excellent sign for any organization as employees would reciprocate such actions with their work.
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