Two women sitting on a rock laughing in a windy field

#OptOutside: REI Co-op closing on Thanksgiving and Black Friday for seventh year running

Outdoor retailer continues tradition of paying all employees to get outside on Black Friday

Oct 5, 2021

SEATTLE – This November, REI is once again closing its more than 170 locations—stores, activity centers, distribution centers, call centers and headquarters—on Black Friday. For the seventh year in a row, the co-op will forgo profits and sales on the busiest shopping day of the year, and instead pay its more than 15,000 employees to #OptOutside with family and friends.

Since 2015, tens of millions of people and thousands of organizations have joined REI in opting for a day outside instead of shopping on Black Friday. The #OptOutside movement is driven by the co-op’s desire to inspire REI employees, its 20 million members nationwide and broader society to celebrate the power of time outside and reject the mass consumption and stress that comes with Black Friday.

“As the last year and a half has continued to challenge us all, #OptOutside is a reminder of the importance of community and time outside,” said REI CEO Eric Artz. “What started as a special moment for employees has become a movement for the co-op community to come together and prioritize action on the things that matter most.”   

#OptOutside began as a moment for everyone to recreate responsibly and spend Black Friday outside. This year, the co-op is calling on its community to come together to build a more equitable and inclusive outdoors where everyone can be themselves and feel welcome.

REI recently launched the REI Cooperative Action Fund a new, community-supported public charity that allows co-op members, employees and the public to contribute and provide financial support to a nationwide network of nonprofit organizations promoting justice, equity and belonging in the outdoors. Through #OptOutside, REI will be highlighting the Fund’s inaugural set of grantees and inspiring the broader community to participate.  

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 20 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 171 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.