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REI Rallies Industry to Boycott Black Friday

Outdoor co-op and retailer REI has announced they will be closed during Black Friday for the second year in a row as a protest of the shopping holiday.

With their campaign titled ‘#OptOutside,’ REI plans to promote a counter-holiday dedicated to the community of outdoor enthusiasts.

“This year, REI will shut down on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday because fundamentally we believe that being outside makes us our best selves, healthier and happier, physically and mentally. But as a nation we’re still spending over 90 percent of our lives indoors and it’s a trend we need to tackle,” said REI CEO Jerry Stritzke. “I love that there is a community of people in this country who dedicate their lives to that mission, so together, we are asking America ‘Will you go out with us?’”

REI is also inviting their 6 million co-op members to reach out to friends and family to boycott shopping on Black Friday. REI has also rallied 275 profit and nonprofit organizations to join in the Black Friday boycott event. Partnering organizations include Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the National Park Foundation, and the Trust for Public Land.

In addition to non-for-profit groups, REI has also enlisted companies like Subaru of America, Google and Meetup to help promote the special shopping day boycott. For New York residents, Subaru of America will offer free shuttle rides to walking trails outside the city during Black Friday for #OptOutside and REI will team up with Google employees to organize outdoor programs and outreach for the campaign.

“The moment we announced our decision last year, people who build their lives around the outdoors really embraced the idea of reclaiming Black Friday. It took on a life of its own and became about much more than REI. #OptOutside should be a platform for the nonprofits and public servants who are on the front lines of the outdoor community. They’re the ones who make the outdoors accessible for everyone,” said Strizke.