In October, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke created a massive buzz nationwide when he announced the #OptOutside initiative: the retailer will close its headquarters and 143 stores on Black Friday. Instead of taking advantage of the country’s busiest shopping day, Stritzke gave all 12,000 employees a paid day off to get outside. The move was a stroke of marketing brilliance, and the idea spread quickly. Here are five other companies that are also encouraging their customers to forgo shopping—or at least give back a little—this Friday.
In addition to closing its Seattle-based headquarters, distribution center, and flagship store on Black Friday, Outdoor Research is launching a Black Friday Instagram campaign to raise money for the Boulder, Colorado–based adaptive sports nonprofit Paradox Sports. From Friday through Sunday, every time at least 100 people tag OR’s outdoor Instagram photos with #OutdoorResearch and #OptOutside hashtags, the company will donate $1,000 (up to $5,000) to the group.
Giro’s director of marketing, Dain Zaffke, happened to be at REI’s Seattle headquarters talking to the staff about MIPs technology when the retailer announced its #OptOut initiative. “I saw what it did to company morale,” Zaffke says. “Everyone was amped. Those people were genuinely proud that day.” He rode the excitement back to Santa Cruz and suggested Giro also shut its doors on Black Friday so employees could enjoy the much-needed new snow at nearby Lake Tahoe.
This Moscow, Idaho–based employee-owned, watersports supplier is encouraging its employees to get on the water this Black Friday. “On Friday, November 27, we’re turning off the lights, hanging up the gone boatin’ sign and heading outside to our important places,” the company wrote on its blog, the Duct Tape Diaries. Like many of the companies on this list, NRS credited REI for the idea.
Hydroflask, maker of bomber insulated water bottles and growlers, decided to shut its doors the day after Thanksgiving so its employees could get outside and have fun around its headquarters in Bend, Oregon. The following week, the company will also participate in #GivingTuesday by partnering with the Oregon National Desert Association to raise funds for Oregon’s high-desert protection programs.
Aracade isn’t shutting its doors, but for the second year in a row, this Squaw Valley, California–based company will donate $5 from every sale to Protect Our Winters, a climate-change advocacy group. Professional skier and Arcade co-founder Cody Townsend feels strongly about the decision to stay open. “I gotta say it probably seems trendy to go anti–Black Friday now, but honestly, we [backed POW] because it just feels better to us,” Townsend wrote in an email.
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