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REI Bows Out of Black Friday Sales so Employees Can Enjoy Outdoor Pursuits

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Specialty outdoor retailer REI is shuttering its doors on Black Friday, turning away customers so its employees can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday outside.

REI will pay all 12,000 of its employees at the company’s 143 retail locations, headquarters and two distribution centers not to come to work on Black Friday, and instead enjoy the time outdoors as a part of the company’s #OptOutside campaign.

“Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the essential truth that life is richer, more connected and complete when you choose to spend it outside,” said Jerry Stritzke, president and CEO of REI. “We’re closing our doors, paying our employees to get out there, and inviting America to OptOutside with us because we love great gear, but we are even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks.”

REI will be inviting the public to #OptOutside on its website, which lists recommended hiking trails, many built and nurtured by nonprofits supported by REI. On the day itself, REI.com will feature a black takeover screen that encourages customers to ‘#OptOutside’.

Stritzke continued, “As a member-owned co-op, our definition of success goes beyond money. We believe that a life lived outdoors is a life well lived and we aspire to be stewards of our great outdoors. We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles. Please join us and inspire us with your experiences. We hope to engage millions of Americans and galvanize the outdoor community to get outside.”

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