Two people running up an winding trail in the woods.

REI Co-op Announces Permanent Commitment to #OptOutside Movement: Closing Stores on Black Friday … For Good

Outdoor retailer to provide annual paid day off for employees to spend time outside

Oct 4, 2022

SEATTLE – Specialty outdoor retailer REI Co-op today announced its Opt Outside movement will be permanent for all employees. For this Black Friday, and every Black Friday in the future, the co-op will forgo profits and sales at all locations, and instead pay its more than 16,000 employees to enjoy time outside.

Since 2015, REI has closed its doors on Black Friday—inviting employees and members to spend time outside rather than shopping. Over the years, Opt Outside has evolved from a response against consumerism to a movement that has advocated for causes important to the co-op, including environmental welfare, inclusivity in the outdoor industry and responsible recreation.

This year will mark the shift of Opt Outside to an ongoing, permanent, employee benefit.

“Opt Outside has always been about prioritizing the experience of our employees—choosing the benefits of time outside over a day of consumption and sales,” said Eric Artz, President and CEO, REI Co-op. “When we first introduced this movement, it was considered revolutionary for a retail brand, but we felt it was the right thing to do for our members and employees. Making Opt Outside an annual observance will serve as a yearly reminder of this commitment to doing the right thing for the co-op community.”

From this year on, all stores, distribution centers, activity centers, call centers and headquarters will close every Black Friday. While customers can still place an order on REI.com, order processing and fulfillment will not begin until the following day.

“In the years since Opt Outside was first introduced, the co-op has grown to 16,000 employees and 21.5 million members,” said Artz. “We’re a diverse and vibrant community that’s united by a shared love for time outside. That’s always going to be a constant for us—no matter the challenges we face. Opt Outside is an embodiment of our values.”

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 21.5 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 179 locations in 42 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.