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Eric Artz: Reopening Our Stores

To our co-op community

I’m writing to share some good news. After two months of temporary closures, this week we will begin reopening our stores—just in time to celebrate our 82nd anniversary.  

In some places “opening” will mean curbside service for orders placed online. In others, our doors will open for a limited number of customers. In every case, we’ll be taking precautions for the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities. We’ll have health and safety procedures in place for our store teams, and clear guidance for you on how to shop or do curbside pickup. We’ll also be closely following guidance from national, state and local authorities to make sure we’re operating in compliance with any restrictions in your area.  

We have made significant progress in all of these areas over the last month, and we are ready to begin expanding services in many of our stores. Our hope and expectation is that more than half of our stores will be open for curbside pickup in time for our Anniversary Sale, May 15 - May 25, and a small number of stores will be open for in-store services as well.  

 You can find more details about your local store here 

We’re doing our part to make the curbside and in-store experience as safe as possible for everyone, and we need your help. When you come into our stores, our employees will be wearing face coverings, and we’re going to ask that you wear one too. It’s a simple thing that we can all do right now to take care of one another and, if you forget yours, we’ll have disposable face coverings available. 

For anyone who can’t make it to a store, we’ll keep doing our best to get you all the gear, expertise and inspiration you need through our digital channels. We’re offering all the great deals you’d expect during Anniversary Sale at In the coming weeks, we’re also rolling out virtual events and gatherings for members, zero-contact shop services for bicycle maintenance at our stores, a virtual outfitting program and an improved returns process.  

Few things make us happier than serving our customers in our stores. The journey is far from over, but we are making progress, and we’re grateful for your support and understanding right now. To everyone who has reached out with a word of encouragement or has helped support local nonprofits through our Outdoor Emergency Fund, thank you.  

There is a spirit of togetherness that has defined your co-op for 82 years, and as we celebrate our anniversary, I’m reminded that right now it’s more important than ever. Be well and take care.   

My best, 

Eric Artz 

President and CEO, REI Co-op


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
118 Replies

Cliches "situation different now" unprecedented times" etc. The situation changes every moment of life - that is how it has always been - that's not different. That's why we buy survival gear from REI. Facts, figures, and perspective: In 2018 over 1000 auto fatalities in AZ. REI did not shut down it's stores, close off and dig up it's parking lots and forbid it's employees and customers driving to the store in order to "save their lives". Yet far, far fewer deaths and the panic bandwagon is off and running. I'm asking for some perspective. Your life is at greater risk driving to the store than shopping in it. I'm asking for our choices to be given back. If you don't want to go out then don't. I'll respect that. Buy online. But you've taken away my choices, and I just don't think that's right.

You still have your choices, you simply must buy online, like folks who use Amazon do.  I'll be glad to help you place an order online if you are having a problem.

Not being able to enter any retail store is at most a modest inconvenience.  Last I looked, there were over 100,000 death nation-wide which is far from trivial.  The decision to close was based on more than just the situation in Arizona.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

lol - you made me chuckle hikermor: telling me I "must" do something one way and saying I still have choices. 100K is not trivial - not at all. I never said it was. I asked for some facts, figures and perspective. Like this quote from the CDC: " 

Cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year. Cigarette smoking is estimated to cause the following:

  • More than 480,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)"

I don't need help ordering on-line. I need help not having to pay to return the 8 pairs of boots I ordered searching for a pair that fit right. I'm trying to stay a loyal REI customer, but it's getting really hard. And neither of us needs help buying cigarettes - because they are everywhere. Why has the economy not been shut down for those half million people every year? Were their lives trivial? I'm asking for perspective and common sense. I'm not arguing about the lock downs. Good idea - but simply no longer necessary in areas; they are done. If you choose to live in a ridiculously densely populated area like NYC, then face those consequences. That's your choice.  I'm saying let's all open our eyes to the science and facts, and get on with our lives. Perspective.

Certainly fitting boots by mail is a daunting proposition.  you hav my sympathies.  However, the stores will open, perhaps earlier than full retail to accept returns. Many retailers do not have a comprehensive a return policy as REI.  Paradoxically, I have had to return only one item in fifty-six years of membership

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Couldn't agree more! These continued closures are a disservice to all REI members! REI is the only retail / outdoor store in my area which remains closed. This weekend I went out and dropped a pretty penny at another outdoor store. It would have been to my advantage to buy all those items from REI because I would have seen a good bit back on my dividend. But considering REI is closed and a lot of the items I purchased required fitting it made a lot more sense for me to buy them in person and support my local outdoor shop.


Also, I feel it is necessary to point out. This announcement from the CEO is now 3 weeks old, in which he states (and bluntly so) "this week we will begin reopening our stores". Well, 3 weeks have passed and REI still has not began to reopen any stores. Thats strange. Cause when you ask an REI employee they will say that they cant share any info on store openings as not to cause any frustration at last minute changes. Yet here you have the CEO of the company plainly stating that "this week we will begin reopening our stores" 3 weeks ago, still no stores open... I must ask why Mr. Artz, why would you provide your members with false information?

@dylan3492 as you can read in our CEO's statement, "in some places “opening” will mean curbside service for orders placed online. In others, our doors will open for a limited number of customers." Over the last 3 weeks, the majority of our stores have opened for curbside pickup and our Montana stores are currently open to customers. As we mentioned in another response to you today in the community, we will begin to open more stores with a phased approach across the country in early June and beyond.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thats what you call word play & I'm well aware! Its kinda like when you see a headline which says one thing but when you click the article and read it says something completely different. "Reopening stores" does NOT equal curbside whether thats how your CEO defines it or not.


"A phased approach sometime in the next month and beyond." Thats really the new default answer? Thats just as vague as saying you don't know.


I ordered something for curbside pickup with the intention to pick it up today. Obviously this isn't possible due to the unannounced and utterly random closing. What are my options here? Can someone give me a concrete reasoning behind the random closing during these two days? Preferably an explanation that doesn't include "rapidly", "changing", "uncertain", "unprecedented", etc. Nothing much changed from 6/1 to 6/2.