#OptOutside Returns for Third Year of REI-Sponsored Day Without Shopping

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REI #OptOutside 2017 Black Friday

REI is not only closing its stores, website and offices today to enourage its employees to #OptOutside, it has influenced more people and stores than ever to do the same—which pretty much qualifies it as a bona fide movement.

For the third year in a row, the Seattle-based outdoor retailer is closing all its stores on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The consumer co-op will process no online orders rosy. Instead, REI will pay all 12,000 employees (even hourly workers) their regular pay to take the day off. It’s encouraging everyone to delay their holiday shopping frenzy an extra day and instead spend it outside.

“We are doing this again to unite people and to find common ground in the outdoors,” said REI CEO Jerry Stritzke in a statement about the Cannes Lions-winig. “Right now, I think people are looking for a moment to take a breath, reground themselves and come together.”

This Black Friday, #OptOutside is being supported by Lyft in giving free rides to national parks in select cities such as Portland, Oregon, about which Lyft wrote: “We’re teaming up with our friends at REI to help our Portland passengers get outdoors on November 24th, by providing a free ride to major parks in the Portland Metro Area. Whether you plan to shop or not this Friday, take a moment to get out and enjoy the amazing parks and trails we’re fortunate enough to have in our backyards.”

REI #OptOutside

Closing on Thanksgiving (and Black Friday) has given some retailers a customer loyalty boost by signaling a commitment to family values, experts say. And this year, many retailers are joining in by modifying their Thanksgiving and Black Friday hours.

REI Co-op will close all 151 of its stores on Black Friday today, expanding its effort to create “new American tradition” with the help of hundreds of organizations.

“More than 700 organizations and nearly 8 million people have joined #OptOutside over the past two years,” added Stritzke. “We could not be more thankful. But last year we stepped back and said we can do more. We asked how we could offer new practical tools and inspiration. So we have captured the experiences of the outdoor community and organized them in a way that no one has done before.”

At the heart of this year’s effort, a new experiential search engine from REI is designed to inspire millions of people to #OptOutside. It features images pulled entirely from #OptOutside user-generated content (UGC) on Instagram, augmented with real-time information about locations and experiences across the country.

For example, users who click on an image of a hiker can see the name of the specific trail featured, the trail’s difficulty rating, directions to the trailhead, recent user reviews of the experience and related expert advice from REI. Beginning today and leading up to Black Friday, the co-op will release 20 films featuring this community-created imagery to connect people through their shared #OptOutside experiences.

The co-op’s efforts to get more people outside do not begin and end with #OptOutside. Year-round, the co-op partners with hundreds of local and national organizations, nonprofits and governmental agencies, championing the outdoor life by implementing and encouraging others to adopt the highest sustainability standards and working to increase access to the outdoors for everyone.

America’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 16 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service.

It’s also a brand that’s built on experience—and helping more people get outside to reconnect with nature (and themselves).

REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs more than 170 custom-designed itineraries worldwide. The REI Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner-to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.

Some of the tweets by REI and partners encouraging people to #optoutside today, with messaging such as: “For the 3rd year running, we’re closed on Black Friday and paying employees to spend the day outdoors. Are you with us today?” #OptOutside

Join the millions who are skipping the shopping frenzy on Black Friday to #OptOutside. BYO adrenaline.

To families, framilies, early snow and peace outside. #HappyThanksgiving

We’re still weighing our options. How should we #OptOutside on Black Friday?

“We are doing this again to unite people and to find common ground in the outdoors.” – Jerry Stritzke, CEO and President #OptOutside

Admission to many state and national parks is free this #BlackFriday! Go out there and enjoy what money can’t buy. #OptOutside #FindYourPark

This #BlackFriday, #OptOutside for fun with friends and family at these 20 amazing public lands near urban areas via @USAToday → http://on.doi.gov/OptOutside

Do you have plans for Black Friday? Join millions of other Americans who will choose to #OptOutside.

11 states are making their state parks free this #BlackFriday, to encourage you to #OptOutside. http://cntrvlr.co/TRnGDGw

Today you can skip the stress of #BlackFriday and #OptOutside with us. Consider a visit to #GrandCanyon or a state or national park near you. #BrightAngelTrail #Arizona #Hiking #GetOutside

The parks are a way to bring families together for great memories. Here’s a throwback of a family visiting the park circa 1958. Come & visit the park with your family in spirit of national family week. #NationalFamilyWeek #FlashbackFriday #OptOutside

Need a few more reasons to #OptOutside with us and our friends at @REI this Friday? Check out our report “Hiking Trails in America: Pathways to Health” for some inspiration!

How will you #OptOutside? Instead of shopping, millions of Americans are taking today to experience the great outdoors. Here’s how NPCA’s Mark is celebrating America’s natural heritage and the wealth we can find in our public lands:

Who’s going to get outside tomorrow instead of going shopping? Be sure to tag your pics with #OptOutside!

A few who opted to #OptOutside today:

The hashtag is also a Black Friday cautionary tale:

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