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October 27, 2015

REI's plan for Black Friday: Close stores, encourage workers and customers to go outside

Outdoor goods retailer promotes #OptOutside campaign for Black Friday

A major national retailer has told employees that this Black Friday, they won't have to deal with hordes of customers busting down the doors. Instead, they'll get the day off.

REI, a chain that sells athletic and outdoor gear, will close all 143 of its stores the day after Thanksgiving this year instead of offering special sales or doorbusters, USA Today reported.

What will the company's 12,000 workers do on their paid day off? Perhaps they'll go for a run in the crisp autumn air or hike in the woods and observe the changing leaves. REI is promoting the hashtag #OptOutside so that social media users can share what they'll be doing outdoors on Friday instead of shopping.

"It's much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside?" CEO Jerry Stritzke asked the paper.

Related story: Why October's the best month to start running

The company even built an #OptOutside website where users can find nearby hiking trails and create an image that says, "On Black Friday, I'll be..." followed by an activity like camping, climbing or biking.

Curiously, the website lists the closest outdoor attraction to Philadelphia as Valley Forge. Someone should tell the site about the Schuylkill River Trail.

Read the full USA Today article here.