Recreational Equipment, Inc., commonly known as REI, is an American retail and outdoor recreation services corporation. It is organized as a consumer cooperative. REI sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment, and clothing. It also offers services such as outdoor-oriented vacations and courses. REI operates 155 retail stores in 36 states.
REI was founded in 1938 by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in Seattle, Washington. What began as a group of 23 mountain climbing buddies is now the nation's largest consumer cooperative. Jerry Stritzke was the CEO from October 2013 to February 2019 when he resigned because of of a personal relationship with another outdoor industry leader that could be construed as a conflict of interest. Eric Artz is currently serving as interim CEO.
On Black Friday 2015, REI closed all of its stores, halted the processing of orders on its website, and gave all employees a paid day off as part of its #OptOutside campaign, which launched a movement in the outdoor industry. REI is the first major retailer to forgo operations on Black Friday.
Among its guided travel and retreat opportunities, REI puts on Outessa, a series of events created for women, by women, to help participants explore the outdoors, build skills, and network with like-minded adventurers.
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web REI’s newest location: The retailer plans to open its first store in central Pennsylvania next year. [Penn Live] Oxygen levels on Everest: How global warming is altering air composition on the world’s highest peak. ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web Taking the edge off a stressful day: As you anxiously await the results of the election, consider turning off the news for a little while and clearing your mind with this livestream of polar bears. It might do you good. ...read more
A lot happened in the outdoor industry this month. Our own parent company, Pocket Outdoor Media, acquired a group of legacy media properties including the longstanding climbing mag Rock and Ice. Another group of magazines—including Bike, Powder, and Surfer—effectively folded. The ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web REI braces for changes: The retailer is anticipating big shifts in how customers spend their dollars this winter and holiday season. [KHQ] The duty of the bystander: An examination of the ways men are responsible, as ...read more
Lots of news has been coming out recently about companies joining the Time To Vote movement, which encourages employers to give their staff time off work on Election Day. Patagonia, The North Face, REI, L.L.Bean, and dozens of other outdoor businesses have gone in for the cause. ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web Suspicious story: Doubts have arisen surrounding the survival story of a woman who was rescued from Zion National Park last week. [The Independent] Vintage gear stash: This Brooklyn couple is running a retro gear shop out ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web Tommy Caldwell bashes Trump: The president is going to “ruin rock climbing,” the pro climber wrote in a recent op-ed. [Rock and Ice] The North Face invests in diversity: The brand has put $7 million into a new initiative ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web Here’s an idea: Why not use all the unspent trade show dollars from 2020/21 to support journalism in the outdoor industry? [Pale Morning Media] How Artz runs REI: A look at how the chief executive of REI has handled changes ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web MEC sale advances: A Canadian court has approved the sale of the co-op to an American investment firm. Members of the protest group called Save MEC have announced a virtual town hall to discuss next steps. [Simcoe Reformer, ...read more
The outdoor industry has a long history of political engagement. Over the years, countless brands have thrown their influence (and dollars) behind causes like climate protection and the conservation of public lands. Until 2018, however, no company had gone so far as to endorse a ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web #OptOutside continues: Even in this tumultuous year, REI will once again close its stores on Black Friday and pay its employees to spend time outside with friends and family as part of its annual #OptOutside campaign. A ...read more
As the election approaches on November 3rd and state governments scramble to figure out how to keep voters safe from the coronavirus at in-person polling places, a number of large outdoor companies are stepping up to help. Answering a call from Operation Vote Safe, a nationwide ...read more
REI announced today that the company will become Climate Neutral Certified in 2020, officially completing a goal laid out by former CEO Sally Jewell in 2006. The company has also pledged to reduce its carbon emissions—raw carbon output, as opposed to net output, which can be ...read more
Members of the struggling Canadian retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op have raised more than $90,000 in recent days to prevent an American investment firm, Kingswood Capital Management, from acquiring the company. More than 132,000 people have also signed a petition opposing the ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web REI bets on itself: The retailer is expanding its house-branded line to include bikes and potentially footwear. [StoreBrands] Using crags as demonstration tools: Do climbers have a right to hang Pride and Black Lives Matter ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web Vote the assholes out: Patagonia hid a provocative message on the back of some clothing tags this season. People just recently noticed, and the revelation is now making waves on the internet. [BACKPACKER] Body recovered in ...read more
REI announced yesterday that it has sold its new, 400-square-foot office complex in Bellevue, Washington, to Facebook for $390 million, less than 30 days after putting it on the market and just three months after the outdoor retailer boycotted the tech giant for its handling of ...read more
[This is part three of a three-part series on 2020 gear trends. Read part one here and part two here.] Holly Phillips grew up in Ona, West Virginia, exploring the outdoors on fishing trips with her dad. The two would set out on a Friday evening, camp near a river, and start ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web Icebreaker vows to be 100 percent plastic-free by 2023. “We want to change the conversation around how clothes are made and the synthetics within them and make the information accessible to enable more conscious purchases,” ...read more
“The intimidation hits me before I even walk into an outdoor store like REI,” says Jahmicah Dawes, who owns the Texas based, outdoor gear shop Slim Pickins Outfitters. “It starts when I roll into the parking lot in my 2007 Chevy Impala with my fly rod sticking out the window. I ...read more
[This is part one of a three-part series.] Strictly speaking, you don’t need to justify making durable products for the outdoors. “It’s just the right thing to do, to make equipment that isn’t going to fail in the field,” says Mystery Ranch project manager Luke Buckingham, ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web' Honoring Mark Satkiewicz: Smartwool and SBT GRVL have partnered to host a month-long cycling event to raise money for the Mark Satkiewicz Memorial Fund. Dealing with race on the slopes: Among all skiing participants, 88 ...read more
Mikah Meyer is a queer outdoorsman, a change maker who’s determined to make our natural spaces more inclusive. Meyer first drew public attention in April 2019 when he became the only person to visit all 419 units of the U.S. National Park System—including national parks, ...read more
Industry headlines: Intriguing reads from around the web Grants for BIPOC students: A $34K VF Corporation grant awarded to Colorado Mesa University’s new Outdoor Recreation Industry Studies program will be used for scholarships aimed at promoting diversity in the industry. [CMU ...read more