In a bold but awesome move, REI declared they are closing all 143 of their stores on Black Friday. Instead of reporting to work, the co-op is paying their employees to go play outside. Essentially, REI is making a move to remind us all it’s about experiences and not stuff in the end.
While REI still plans to offer deals on gear all holiday season long, this one day, they are going to #OptOutside and want you to join them. REI created a website to help you plan your outdoor adventure that day and customize a message to share your intentions across all your social channels. It looks like the company partnered with Visit the USA to provide a searchable database of activity options in cities across the country.
Last year, REI’s growth came from their brick-and-mortar stores (as opposed to online sales), as attractions such as climbing walls, classes, and knowledgeable outdoor-minded salespeople keep people coming through the doors. So for the company to shut all their stores on one of the biggest shopping days of the year is a big deal.
The news was met by applause from REI members–if you look over on their Facebook page, the overwhelming majority of the 2,000+ comments are in favor of the decision. And kudos to REI’s social staff for liking or answering each and every comment.
Very much like Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign, I am sure REI’s Black Friday closure will actually boost sales in the end. Nice work REI.