REI To Skip ‘Black Friday,’ Employees Get Day Off

‘REI believes that being outside makes our lives better. That’s why this Black Friday, we’re closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside.’


That message dropped like a bomb on the world of outdoor retail today. In an open letter by Jerry Stritzke, REI President & CEO, the company revealed it would be closing on Black Friday, November 27, 2015, to reinforce what the co-op has been dedicated to for decades: “A life outdoors,” as Stritzke put it.

He continued, “We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth. We’re a different kind of company—and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently.”

‘Biggest Shopping Day Of The Year’

Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving, is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S. Many stores open early and offer sales.

It has been the busiest shopping day of the year for about a decade, and with it the rise of a consumer frenzy has ensued, including violence and chaos at stores like Wal-Mart.

Related Article: “Why REI Will Skip ‘Black Friday’ This Year.”

REI will have no Black Friday promotions and will not process online orders that day. Its 12,000 employees get a paid day off.

143 stores will go dark for Black Friday this year

The company is encouraging its customers to do the same, and REI has set up #OptOutside, where you can post a photo, share on your social media to “opt out” of the consumer craziness of Black Friday, or click to see via an online guide what activities are in your area to begin planning to take the day off after Thanksgiving and head not indoors, but outside to explore.

–See our interview with REI executive Ben Steele, “Why REI Will Skip ‘Black Friday’ This Year.”

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.