BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — Outdoor retailer REI is taking a bold step when it comes to holiday shopping again this year. That’s right — you can cross it off your list for Black Friday.
For the second year, the co-op will shut down all 149 stores on the busiest shopping day of the year.
It’s a go-to spot for outdoorsy types to gear up. And for the second year in a row, REI is telling its shoppers to take a hike.
“We were sort of looking at the creep that shopping has started to do, and kind of creeping more and more into Thanksgiving and really just too much on the commercialization side of things,” Bloomington store manager Brain Harrower said.
The campaign’s name is OptOutside, and Harrower says it’s good for both customers and employees. REI workers will get paid for the day off. Customers we spoke with say they like the idea.
“It’s gotten way out of control,” one shopper said. “I think it should be a family day. Spend your day with family or do something you enjoy.”
“You can’t even enjoy your turkey, it’s like you have to race to get out to the stores and get the deals,” said another.
The idea is that holiday shopping has just gone too far. Less time spent shopping inside means more time available to spend outside with the family and friends.
“Friends and family, let’s go outside and do something different. Instead of standing in line at 4 in the morning and freezing, it’s like go outside and have fun,” Harrower said.
By opting outside, Harrower says they’re shifting the focus to what REI is all about — the great outdoors
And even though it’s the biggest shopping day of the year, he says they’re not focused on the lost revenue.
“This was more of like a purpose before profit statement, and that we just feel really strongly that a life outdoors is a life well-lived,” he said.
Online shopping is closed for REI on Black Friday as well. Orders won’t be processed until the day after.
As for Target and Best Buy on Thanksgiving Day — no word on their hours just yet.