REI to Close Doors on Black Friday

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Photo Courtesy of REI

In an unprecedented move, the national outdoor retail chain REI has announced that it will close all 143 of its locations the day after Thanksgiving—a notoriously busy shopping day known as Black Friday.

Instead of focusing on promotions, door busters, and hourly sales, REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke says the company will encourage both employees and consumers to go outside and explore the great outdoors.

“While the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we hope to see you in the great outdoors,” Stritzke told employees in an company-wide email sent out on Monday. Stritzke also announced that the company will continue to pay its employees even though the chain will be closed across the nation.

REI, which is set up as a employee-owned consumer co-op rather than a publicly traded corporation, will instead focus its efforts on a digital campaign that encourages consumers to opt out of the Black Friday madness all together in favor of spending time in nature. They are asking customers to take to social media on the day after Thanksgiving and share their outdoor experiences using the hashtag #optoutside. They’ve also set up a microsite with information on local options for outdoor recreation.

“Any retailer that hears this will be startled by the idea,” Stritzke told USA Today. “As a co-op … we define success a little differently. It’s much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside?”

Will you #optoutside this year and ditch the chaos of Black Friday? Let us know in the comment feed!

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