REI Co-op to begin reopening stores and services to customers
Phased approach begins with a pilot in Montana and curbside pick-up nationwide
May 12, 2020
SEATTLE – As a growing number of states begin to reopen for limited outdoor activity, REI Co-op is preparing for a safe return to customer-facing services. Starting this week, REI will begin offering curbside pick-up at more than half of it stores across the country and will launch zero-contact bike shop services in select locations. The co-op will also begin opening its stores to customers, beginning with three stores in Montana.
“I’m writing to share some good news,” wrote Eric Artz, REI president and CEO, in a letter to members on May 12, 2020. “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. In others, our doors will open for a limited number of customers. In every case, we’ll be taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities.”
All 162 REI retail locations have been closed since March 16, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, Artz committed to working with store teams and public health officials across the country to figure out how to responsibly resume services as local conditions allowed.
The co-op will use four factors to determine where it can reopen customer-facing services:
- The co-op’s ability to ensure a set of detailed health and safety protocols
- Local community readiness and sentiment
- Federal, state, and local guidelines and restrictions
- Facility and team operational readiness
“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.” Artz wrote this week. “Our hope and expectation is that more than half of our stores will be open for curbside pick-up in time for our Anniversary Sale, May 15 through 25, and a small number of stores will be open for in-store services as well.”
As the co-op prepares to reopen, it is also implementing a number of health and safety guidelines, including (but not limited to):
- Operating on a reduced schedule and limiting the number of people allowed in stores
- Requiring employees to wear face coverings and asking customers to do the same (disposable face coverings will be available for those who don’t have them)
- Socially distanced queuing at store entrances, cash registers and shop counters
- Installing plexiglass shields at all registers
- Maintaining enhanced cleaning procedures with thorough, frequent cleanings of high-touch surface areas
Beyond the ramp-up of physical retail, the co-op has been actively developing additional ways to serve members, including virtual events and gatherings, a pilot program for virtual outfitting, and an updated returns process. Those services will begin rolling out in select stores during the coming weeks.
The latest information about store-by-store services can be found here.
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 177 locations in 41 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.