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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

@Steven970 as you might imagine, this situation is rapidly evolving all across the country and we are taking a phased approach to how, when, and where we reopen for business. We are now offering curbside pick-up and zero-contact shop services in many of our stores, with a plan to continue to expand these services nationwide.

One of the main reasons we don't share what's coming in the future is how variable the situation is and the possibility that things could change at the last minute. We apologize if this seems secretive; instead, we want to minimize the additional confusion and frustration a last-minute change could cause. We are making daily updates to our local store pages and will keep the FAQs here in the community updated as well.

We do not yet have an update to share on curbside returns and exchanges; as we mention in our FAQs, these services are more complex and create additional risk and as we roll out new services, we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our employees and our customers.

Thank you for continuing to bring your concerns to our attention.

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

I purchased a bike on 3/7/2020 at a Massachusetts' REI, bike experts were in the middle of inspection and had to replace a component on the bike before handing it over, unfortunately this happened right before the closure and my bike has been "held hostage" since. I know you guys are opening in phases, but do you have a rough estimate of when I can contact someone at the Reading location about this?

@narinkhem_23 we are so sorry for this extended delay and also so glad you reached out! We have passed your information along to our shop services team for help with next steps and anticipate you will hear from them shortly.

In addition, you could also reach out to the Reading bike shop as they have begun offering zero-contact bike services.

Hopefully we'll have you reconnected with your bike soon!

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

 I am so happy to hear this. Thank you so much for all of your help! 


Why is REI ignoring the latest CDC, state of Washington and Seattle-King County guidance, which clearly states that masks or face coverings can help prevent the spread of COVID-19? And why aren't you being candid in your messaging on this -- that masks will be optional in REI stores? At age 68, I won't set foot in a business that is mask-optional, but I wouldn't know that's the case from reading the post above. About a third of the people my age who contract COVID-19 die.


@randybeam Thank you for reaching out with your concerns.

Your question is a good one, and one that we didn’t take lightly. We believe our protocols are the best balance between employee and customer safety and aligning with federal and local guidelines, which vary by region. All employees will wear face coverings and face shields will be available for those who request them. We encourage you to read through our health and safety standards here.


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

@randybeam we wanted to circle back and let you know that starting June 19, we will require face coverings for all customers in our stores.

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

If you are going to announce that stores will be opening there needs to be a schedule of the openings released also.  Right now there is very little information available which is just frustrating, not helpful.


@LW3 we appreciate you reaching out with this frustration and we'd love a little clarification on what's missing and would be helpful. Do you wish we would share a schedule of what upcoming service will be offered in the future? Or is it unclear what services are currently being offered in specific locations?

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


How 'bout shopping by appointment to minimize/prevent in store crowding?  Members could sign up on line for a time slot to look or try new things/clothes. Clothes changing booths could have uv lights (smaller, discrete area) to sanitize between customers. Similarly, how about a similar way of sanitizing clothing.

My granddaughter's school are talking about how many kids can social distance in the space of a class room (approximately 12) and then arrange the school schedule around groups of 12 come to class, class cleaned, next group of 12 come in. 

Similarly safe groups like families could sign up for safe group shopping.

All the best to you and my beloved REI. I long for the day when the back country reopens and I can safely wander and not worry about the safety of those who support the frontcountry/backcountry.

-mori    (I was a member earlier but my precomputer membership has been lost in the mists of time..........)