Once again, REI Co-op will be closed for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
The outdoor retail giant has announced that it will continue its #OptOutside initiative for the seventh year in a row, closing its more than 170 facilities on Black Friday. This includes stores, activity centers, distribution centers, call centers and its head office.
Rather than work, REI said in a statement it would encourage its 15,000-plus employees – while paying them – to hang out with family and friends.
“As the past year and a half has continued to challenge us all, #OptOutside is a reminder of the importance of community and time spent outdoors,” REI CEO Eric Artz said in a statement. . “What started as a special moment for employees has grown into a movement for the co-op community to come together and prioritize action over the things that matter most.”
Although REI has been engaged in #OptOutside since 2015, this year the retail giant is celebrating a little differently. In a statement, REI said it will use this year’s initiative to encourage people to help build a more equitable and inclusive outdoors. It will do so by highlighting the beneficiaries of its recently launched REI Cooperative Action Fund.
The purpose of the fund, which was revealed on October 4, is to empower co-op members, employees and the public to contribute and provide financial support to a nationwide network of justice-focused nonprofits, equity and belonging to the outdoors. At the time of the announcement, REI said the fund will invest $ 1 million in 19 nonprofits aligned with this mission, and as more people contribute, this will increase the investment.
“We believe that connection to nature is fundamental for the health and well-being of all and that time spent outdoors is a human right,” said Ben Steele, Director of Clientele at REI , in a press release. “As a community of millions of members, thousands of employees and hundreds of partners, we are uniquely positioned to drive meaningful change. Through the REI Cooperative Action Fund, we can harness the collective strength of the cooperative to ensure that all people have their right to the protected outdoors.