Eric Artz: Grateful for Our Community in a Year Like No Other

To our co-op community,

We’re coming to the end of a year unlike any other. While many of the challenges that have captured our attention and occupied our lives throughout 2020 are still present and demanding, the end of the year is a moment to reflect and reset.

For all its many hardships, 2020 has also been a year of profound clarity, focus and learning. We’re a community built around a shared love of the outdoors, and this year reminded us time and again of what matters most. We have inspired, welcomed and helped enable more people, many for the first time, to enjoy the benefits of a walk around the neighborhood, a bike ride, a paddle or a night beneath the stars. And, thanks to all of you, this is a part of the legacy of 2020.

At the co-op, this year has tested our limits and reaffirmed our values. We designed and implemented best-in-class health and safety standards. Our members were eager to get outside, asking for new services to meet changing shopping habits and more ways to engage with the co-op. Our teams found innovative solutions to meet those needs, like contactless curbside pickup for safe and efficient shopping, and virtual outfitting to connect you to the expertise you’ve come to expect from our staff.

Nationally, the impacts of COVID-19 brought broader focus to the benefits of time outside, which led to historic wins for our shared and loved outdoor spaces. We saw bipartisan cooperation around the Great American Outdoors Act, which will infuse billions of dollars into public lands and waterways, and the passage of the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act, which directs multiple federal agencies to create greater access for military veterans to the healing power of the outdoors.

And all the while, we kept our people and our purpose front of mind. We announced an additional investment in retail and hourly pay, totaling $40 million over the past 24 months. We achieved our goal, first set in 2006, to be climate neutral by 2020 and we pledged to more than halve our carbon emissions over the next decade. We stood united with our community and committed to play a leading role in addressing the racial inequities impacting our industry and our nation.

We were able to advocate for the outdoors, set bold goals for a better future and serve our community in new and innovative ways because of you. And as we look toward 2021 and beyond, I’m confident in the health of our co-op, the vibrancy of our community and our ability to connect more people to life outside. Every one of you had a profound effect on the co-op this year, and I’m reminded once again of the amazing power of our community working together to create collective impact. Thank you.

Eric Artz

REI Co-op CEO and President