Business in Focus: REI

A closer look at companies executing leadership excellence

BlackFriday_DecemberNewsletterThis section of the newsletter is where we usually focus on one business that is getting leadership right. This month, we are departing from that pattern to spotlight a group of businesses that chose to do something extraordinary this year – they refused to open on Thanksgiving.


In recent years, Black Friday mania has crept further and further into the Thanksgiving holiday. Some stores open at midnight while others open as early as 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Although holiday sales make up the lion’s share of annual revenue for most U.S. retailers, dozens of large brands took a stand for something more important than profits this year. They stood together to reclaim the Thanksgiving holiday. Both employees and customers alike were encouraged to spend the day with family, rather than shoving through crowds for discounted goods.

REI_OptOutsideAmong these retail giants, REI went even further to reverse the shopping mania. Not only did the outdoor co-op close their doors on Thanksgiving, but all 143 of their stores remained closed on Black Friday. The company spread the word with its #OptOutside campaign stating, “While the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we hope to see you in the great outdoors.”

Putting purpose over profit was a risky move. But, by banding together, these companies took a stand for corporate citizenship, and put the humanity back into the Thanksgiving holiday.

Kudos to these big brand retailers.

To see the full list of the stores that remained closed on Thanksgiving, click here.




Share This