Family-owned outdoor retailer to give customers a discount if they #OptOutside

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Closing on Black Friday was a no-brainer for this Ohio outdoors shop

REI may have garnered the most press for its campaign to “#OptOutside” and lock its doors on Black Friday, but smaller retailers are fighting back against the Thanksgiving Day creep, too.

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True Heights Equipment Outfitter, in Beavercreek, Ohio, plans to close, and the owners are sweetening the deal for customers who can prove they followed through with promises to spend the day outdoors.

Anyone who stops by the shop on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28, will get 10 percent off of sale prices if they bring a picture of themselves holding a Black Friday advertisement outside. If it’s an outdoor company’s ad they’re holding, they’ll get 15 percent off.

“As outdoor retailers, or anybody involved in the outdoors, our biggest mission is to get people outdoors,” co-owner John Riggins said. “If we get them outdoors and we get them outside, they’ll become more and more involved in the outdoors, and they’ll come back to us to keep us in business. The more people are outside, the more outdoor businesses there can be.”

Choosing to close the store and support family time instead was an easy decision for Riggins.

Riggins opened the store with his son in summer 2013 and the commercialization of the holiday season has bothered them, even though they are retailers themselves. They made the decision to close shortly after REI announced its campaign, and have heard great feedback from customers.

“It was almost a ‘Why not?’” he said. “Why not jump on it? That’s what we’re here for, we’re trying to get people outdoors. If it takes something like this to help incentivize people to take notice and get outdoors, that’s what we want to do.”

Black Friday gives THE Outfitter a little bump over normal days, but what’s really big for the store – and many other small retailers – is Small Business Saturday. Riggins said he’s willing to risk a bit of a sting from being closed the day after Thanksgiving if it ultimately gets more people outside.

The store has created a web page listing nearby outdoor activities planned for Black Friday, and has been soliciting more ideas from customers. The list will hopefully generate more publicity for outdoor groups and clubs, too, Riggins said.

Even though what REI has created may be little more than a brilliant advertising scheme, Riggins said he’s OK with that if it starts a positive trend.

“Is it a marketing stunt? I think so,” he said. “But is it a marketing stunt that’s moving something in the right direction? I hope so.”

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