REI Tells Everyone To Go Play Outside On Black Friday Again

Image courtesy of REI

While other retailers debate whether they should open on Thanksgiving Day or not, last year outdoor gear co-op REI had a novel idea: it wouldn’t just keep its doors closed on the holiday, but it would close on the biggest shopping day of the year as well. That apparently worked out for them, and the retailer is doing the same again this year.

The idea works because REI’s core customers are people more likely to spend a day off trail running instead of fighting strangers over a pile of doorbusters.

Yet while the idea attracted publicity and warm, fuzzy feelings from shoppers last year, especially the part where the retailer will be paying employees for the day off, only fellow Seattle-based outdoors retailer Outdoor Research has stepped forward to join REI in this quest.

Last year, the event had some parks and other organizations join in, and this year even more are taking part. Our favorite is a project by Subaru of America in New York City to take shelter dogs from the city for an outdoorsy outing, shuttling them out of the city. People and already-adopted dogs can take a Subaru-sponsored shuttle to a nearby park, too. Subaru dealerships, however, will be open on Black Friday.

“The moment we announced our decision last year, people who build their lives around the outdoors really embraced the idea of reclaiming Black Friday,” REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke said in a statement. “It took on a life of its own and became about much more than REI.”


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