REI CEO Jerry Stritzke says it would be a 'mistake' to not gather at Outdoor Retailer - SNEWS

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke says it would be a 'mistake' to not gather at Outdoor Retailer

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Stritzke's letter is the latest in a stream of announcements from brands saying whether they'll attend or boycott Outdoor Retailer this summer.

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke published a letter Friday on the Co-op Journal, asking the outdoor community to unite in attending Outdoor Retailer this summer. We've republished Stritzke's letter below in full, and you can also find it on the Co-op Journal here.

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke. // Photo courtesy of REI.

We are experiencing a once-in-a-generation, challenging retail environment, which has impacted several important and longstanding outdoor retailers, not to mention the ripple impact through all outdoor brands. We also have seen a massive shift in the thinking and discussions about trade shows, which I really think is a proxy for a conversation about how we function as an industry. Finally, we find ourselves in a fast-moving policy fight to protect our public lands.

I have found myself trying to connect the dots and determine how REI should participate in the conversation in order to strengthen the outdoor industry and advocate for the outdoors that we all love. I am sharing my thoughts because I think this is a conversation the industry needs to have while at the same time knowing that there is no one right answer. I do believe, however, that as an industry we share a passion for a life lived outside and in the end that unites us. #UnitedOutside

Public Lands

When I learned about the Utah legislature and Governor Herbert’s effort to rescind protection of the Bears Ears National Monument, I was mad as hell and disappointed. The issue had been framed in Utah during the Winter OR show by both Peter Metcalf and Yvon Chouinard — two of our most respected outdoor voices. That was followed by over 170 outdoor industry leaders signing a CEO letter declaring protecting public lands as our top priority. It would certainly appear that despite having a state fueled by an outdoor recreation economy and serving as the 20-year host of our OR show, which pumps close to $40 million into their state annually, they chose to attack our public lands without the courtesy of a conversation.

I applaud the action of Patagonia and my kindred spirit, Rose Marcario. I also believe that the quick action of OIA to put the OR show out for bid was the absolute right step.

Now it gets more complicated. The real battle to protect our public lands is actually in the hands of our federal government. We are cautiously optimistic, because the nominee for Secretary of Interior has stated for the record, in multiple venues, that he is an advocate for public lands and not in favor of transferring lands to private hands or states that would do the same. It has taken courage for him to take these positions. This has long been an issue that has bipartisan support. The hunting and fishing industry and many leaders on both sides of the aisle care deeply about our public lands. Bottom line, while we address the attacks on public lands in Utah we have to be at the table in D.C. We can only do this as a united industry.

OR and the Outdoor Industry

The Outdoor Retailer show plays a special role in the outdoor community. It is the one time and place that we come together across all elements of our industry. OIA plays host, and the show is attended by every outdoor brand ranging from those iconic outdoor brands that founded our industry to every emerging brand that loves the outdoors and has developed an innovative product that they hope will take off. Retailers from every walk of the outdoor industry can see in one place the future of the outdoor industry. And the key non-profits that advocate and protect our most sacred assets gather to share, plan and dream. At the show, we advance our values by looking at sustainability issues. We share stories, concerns and most importantly we are, for that week, a community.

Never Underestimate the Power of Community and its Importance to Our Industry

I believe it would be a mistake for us not to gather as an industry this July. Now more than ever, we need to act together to advocate and find a common voice to protect our most important asset — our public lands. To be clear, REI is strongly in the camp of moving OR if Utah persists in attacking our public lands – the sooner the better.

REI will be at Summer OR. We will also show up at every opportunity to advance the conversation in support of our public lands. We will stand up to politicians who would deprive our children and grandchildren of the legacy of public lands and all the majesty and wonder that they protect. We think it is more important than ever to come together as an outdoor community and make our voice heard.

I hope that even those companies that have had the courage to make a statement by indicating a willingness to walk away from Utah due to their attack on public lands might consider making a trip to OR this July. I would like to see our community get together and pay a visit to the Utah state government and let them know how we feel about their disregard for our public lands!

Related

black and white photo of Jerry Stritzke in puffy jacket and hat

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke: We don't support Trump's executive order on immigration

Another outdoor industry CEO weigh's in on Trump's controversial executive order from Week One of his presidency. REI employees received this letter Monday from CEO Jerry Stritzke, about the co-op's opposition to President Donald Trump's immigration ban and its commitment to ...read more

REI_CEO_JerryStritzke

REI names former Coach executive Jerry Stritzke as new CEO

REI stepped outside the industry in naming former Coach executive Jerry Stritzke as its new CEO over Labor Day weekend. Strizke replaces Sally Jewell, who left the position earlier this year to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. His first day on the job ...read more

PolartecBlackLogo

Polartec says it will drop out of Outdoor Retailer

Polartec is the latest brand that says it will withdraw from Outdoor Retailer in solidarity with its client, Patagonia. Polartec announced early Friday morning that it, too, would follow the lead of Patagonia and withdraw from Outdoor Retailer in an effort to divert money away ...read more

10 takeaways from Outdoor Retailer

The North Face urges the industry to attend Outdoor Retailer

The North Face is the latest brand to announce it will attend Outdoor Retailer this summer, in spite of a growing boycott. The North Face's president, Scott Baxter, wrote a letter to the industry on Friday afternoon, asking industry stakeholders to show support for the Outdoor ...read more

Ibex_Logo_1200

Ibex says it will exhibit at Outdoor Retailer to defend public lands

Ibex to the state of Utah: expect us on your doorstep While several outdoor brands have pledged to boycott Outdoor Retailer while it remains in Utah, Ibex Outdoor Clothing announced early Friday morning that it would continue exhibiting at the trade show so that it can be in ...read more

pink and purple sky and snow at mather point in the grand canyon

REI's Jerry Stritzke: How to help the national parks right now

As the government shutdown stretches into its fourth week—the longest in U.S. history—we're seeing more brands and organizations chime in on the . Last week, Columbia ran a full-page ad in the Washington Post about keeping the national parks open and funding the government. The ...read more

Bears Ears National Monument

Conservation Alliance says Outdoor Retailer is the best place to organize

The Conservation Alliance says it will continue to attend Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City this summer. Amid calls to boycott Utah and, subsequently, this summer's Outdoor Retailer trade show, the Conservation Alliance announced Friday afternoon that it planned to stay put. ...read more

SUBH-articlehead-834x417

OIA board member companies urge industry to attend Outdoor Retailer

The Outdoor Industry Association's board members and their companies wrote a letter encouraging brands to attend Outdoor Retailer this summer. The Outdoor Industry Association's board member companies published a letter Friday evening, asking the industry to band together and ...read more

Drew Simmons

Opinion: The boycott of Outdoor Retailer is complicated

The public lands debate with Utah and Patagonia's decision to boycott Outdoor Retailer is a tricky situation. Criticizing Patagonia on Utah (or anything, actually) is as delicate an act as there is. There’s a lot of love in there, a lifetime of personal connections to respect, ...read more