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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 REI.com. 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

@Digger_Dave in case you hadn't yet seen, today we added curbside pickup as an option in our Reading, Framingham, and Hingham REI stores. Hope this helps with the bikes!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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Open up curbside returns. I've ordered some things that don't fit, and it doesn't make sense that I have to pay my credit card bill for stuff waiting to be returned. 

Hi. 

Hope you and all of your employees (including the nice people that monitor the conversations) are doing well.

Please re-open the stores! 

Suggested process:

1. Do like several grocery stores I've seen do, allow a certain number of customers in at a time

2. Allow people to make an appointment to come in

So many stores are now open or opening soon.  And, I strongly suggest you NOT treat every store like the stores in the more highly impacted areas (that have more cases).  For example: The Wichita, Ks store should not be treated like a store near/in New York City (if such exists).

I'm sure you know all of this, but wanted to share my thoughts.

I want REI to remain a viable business for their members, customers, and especially the nice employees.  I strongly urge you to open your stores.  It is time we move on...

Thanks, and God Bless...

PoppaHiker

@KenBrenner thanks so much for these suggestions, support and encouragement! We are working hard on our store reopening plans and anticipate having news to share soon. As we did with our curbside roll-out, we will avoid providing location-specific details ahead of time because last minute changes are possible and would likely cause significant frustration for affected customers. So, more to come and stay tuned!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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My store in Colorado is only available for curbisde pickup currently.  I have a merchandise credit that I was told could not be used online and that I could only use it in the store.  Will REI allow me to use it for online purchases and pickup at my store?  Thank you.

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Hello there @SY!

Thanks for reaching out to us here in the Community!

Both gift cards and merchandise credits are eligible for use online, so you should not encounter a problem using it. However, if you do, I’d recommend you reach out to our Sales and Customer Service team for additional help. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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My favorite outdoor store, Mast General store, is now open for business at all 9 locations including the one right in my home town. They announced their opening dates 2 weeks prior to opening. I plan on heading out tomorrow to show them my support by dropping a pretty penny.

That being said. Do the folks at REI plan on making any kind of announcement to the community about their plans to open stores? The response: "we avoid providing specific details ahead of time because change would likely cause significant frustration for affected customers." is unacceptable and a disservice to all co-op members! Not giving your paying co-op members crucial details about the company because you're afraid it will cause "significant frustration" is a weak cop-out which is significantly hurting your business and the business interests of all co-op members alike! The frustration caused by the total lack of any insight from REI far outweighs the frustration any last minute changes would cause.

REI has not only lost a significant amount of business from dragging on these closures, but they also lost the prospects of any future business from members like myself who will gladly take their money to local cottage outdoor stores instead.

I feel it is safe to assume REI will give at least 2 weeks notice before announcing store openings. That being said I feel we are 2+ weeks minimum before seeing any stores open. Which leads me back to my question. Do the folks at REI plan on making any kind of announcement to the community about their plans to open stores?

@dylan3492 thanks for the question! While we do not plan to broadly announce store re-openings, we understand your feedback and appreciate the desire to have our stores reopen. We are eager for this next phase as well!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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Based on the all-knowing Wikipedia " A consumers' co-operative is an enterprise owned by consumers and managed democratically which aims at fulfilling the needs and aspirations of their members. "I think it's time for Mr. Artz to either remove co-op from the name, or remove himself. If a person is afraid to go out - no one is forcing them to go into an REI store. BUT - for those of us (probably a large majority at this point) who are not afraid and know how to act responsibly - we are being forced to stay out of OUR stores.

It would be ideal if we could saunter into our local REI store as we have done in the past, but the situation is different now, and adaptability is important now to avoid increasing the toll of the pandemic.  Thoughtful actions are required of all of us in all kinds of ways.

REI patrons are fortunate because the entire inventory is available on line.  My last order arrived four days before its predicted delivery date..  The current situation reminds me of the early days when I was working in a desert location in Arizona (I was a desert rat myself, then) and mail order, much slower then, was the only option.

Yes, one cannot try on clothing and foot gear for proper size, or fondle the merchandise, but life is tough and full of obstacles.

Speaking of democracies, did you vote for the Board of Directors in the recent election?  If you did not (like most of us I suspect) you have no cause for complaint.  REI may not be perfect, but it has many positive aspects and values.  There is a reason it has grown and prospered for 82 years.  Competent leadership is one main factor.  that and nice snacks available at the checkout counter - I miss those!

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