But then came the backlash: A group of retail chains, including Nordstorm and Costco, announced they wouldn’t open on Thanksgiving day. Some framed it as giving their employees a break before the holiday season, and others hoped to elicit the goodwill of their customers.
According to USA Today, Black Friday is one of REI’s top sales days of the year. So while it’s costly, it’s a strong positive statement. “It seems consistent with REI’s mission and ownership and does a great job making the organization’s values clear to their employees and customers,” said Zeynep Ton, a business professor at MIT who researches how companies can offer better jobs. “Good for them for standing up for something.” This keeps with REI’s overall spirit. It is a business, but it’s also a cooperative, meaning that its customers can pay a $20 membership fee, which gets them, among other things, annual “dividends” that come in part from the company’s profits. REI currently has about 5.5 million members.