Why REI Is Closing All Their Stores On ‘Black Friday’

The first major store to rebel against the worst day of the year and hopefully the beginning of a new trend.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Outdoor retailer REI announced earlier this week that they aren’t just closing all their stores on Thanksgiving, but Black Friday as well, without a doubt the biggest shopping day of the year.

It’s certainly a bit of a marketing campaign, one in which REI is encouraging everyone to spend time outside with the hashtag #OptOutside. But it’s also genius, and it’s a ploy that’s gained considerable steam over the last two days.

REI president and CEO Jerry Stritzke spoke with WBUR in Boston:

Here and Now

“We started thinking about Black Friday – it’s a top 10 day for us – and what do we do? What’s authentic? What we kind of landed on was at the end of the day, the most authentic thing as an outdoor retailer that we could do is encourage people to get outside. So we’re actually paying our employees to go outside and spend time on Black Friday with their families.”

Sure, REI isn’t a ‘big box retailer,’ but the idea that a store would actually take a financial hit in 143 stores and pay their 12,000 employees to take an extra day off when everyone else is losing their minds over $7 waffle makers is fantastic.

Of course it helps that REI is not technically a retailer but a non publicaly traded co-op. But this move to close on the worst day of human existence is one in which we can only hope starts an everlasting trend.

Need a reminder as to why Black Friday makes me want to lose all faith in humanity? This compilation displays enough:

Check mate.


Josh Helmuth is the editor of CraveOnline Sports.

Photo: Getty