Mar 22, 2017 at 4:54 am #3458567Mar 25, 2017 at 9:27 am #3459323Albert MSpectator
Interesting interview. Jerry Stritzke should stay away from politics and stick to retailing though. Nothing torques me worse than the CEO of a mass retailer weighing in heavily on a divisive topic of the day and antagonizing customers unnecessarily. Starbucks did it, and REI as well. Those CEOs should be mindful that just because everyone they know thinks like they do doesn’t mean that everyone else does. That’s good advice for anyone.Apr 4, 2017 at 9:34 pm #3461576Brian HBPL Member
I stopped spending my money at REI due to their political stance.Apr 4, 2017 at 10:16 pm #3461582KatttBPL Member
He is smart and knows exactly what sells right now .Apr 5, 2017 at 7:22 am #3461603Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
REI doesn’t have a lot that I want to buy. They used to sell fabric a long time ago. Now, even butane I get somewhere else. They’ve sort of shifted to fashion. Sort of fun to walk through a store…
His stand on public lands is consistent with being an outdoor store.
Muslim ban? I agree, better to stay out of political issues. Like Walmart. The demographic of REI customers probably agrees with that though. I assume he states his position because it’s important to him regardless of business results. I wonder if he donates large amounts of money to Super PACs?Apr 5, 2017 at 10:52 am #3461639David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
REI still has knowledgeable employees and a good selection of mainstream, high-quality outdoor gear. They return 10% of your eligible purchases back to you as a rebate (“patronage dividend” in co-op speak).
The “vote in an annual board of directors election”? It’s now a rubber stamp of only board-nominated candidates. ‘Open to all’ is a co-op principle but so is democracy! Unless they return to allowing candidates by membership petitions, they’re not democratic. For such a fundamental change in governance, I’d assume they needed a bylaws change by the members but I don’t remember that being put before me (a member for last 40 years).
So I’m less thrilled about them than I once was. Their highest purpose now? When I fly into someplace and need to get fuel, DEET, and whatever I just remembered that I forgot. And while you can increasingly do that Sportsman’s Warehouse or Walmart, REI is better operated than Walmart and more likely to be in stock of what you need. The other time I most often use them is the reverse: we’ve driven to Anchorage to hop on a flight to New Zealand or Iceland and find that one kid has, contrary to instructions, worn their school shoes and not their hiking shoes as we fly off for a backpacking trip.Apr 5, 2017 at 11:40 am #3461653PedestrianBPL Member
In a democracy (which I assume we the US still are) I expect people and entities to have a diverse set of political (and other) opinions and beliefs. Further as we’re a free society we must respect the right of others to express their opinions as long as those opinions are not openly offensive or meant to harm others.
I don’t expect to agree with everyone I do business with; I tend to base economic decisions (of where to shop) based on product attributes, price etc.
I always find it interesting that people choose to boycott a business for expression of their beliefs/opinions. I’d love to hear other perspectives especially from those that disagree.Apr 5, 2017 at 11:40 am #3461654Paul WagnerBPL Member
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
Muslim ban? That topic never came up in the interview. Immigration did, but only in very general terms…
He says he’s very sure he’s in touch with his customer base, and they really appreciate and support Rei’s positions.
Hard to argue you that if you are not his target market…Apr 5, 2017 at 5:05 pm #3461736Scott SmithBPL Member
@mrmuddyLocale: Idaho Panhandle
Soooooooooo.. I guess he’s restricted his ” target market” to those who are active in the outdoors and believes what he doesApr 5, 2017 at 5:27 pm #3461743Paul S.BPL Member
There’s one opinion in the Seattle area so he likely believes that to be true.
While I prefer businesses stay out of politics I won’t base my patronage on opinions of individual employees. If they have the services and products I want then I will be a customer. Treat me poorly or don’t offer what I need then I’m gone.Apr 5, 2017 at 7:56 pm #3461766W I S N E R !BPL Member
“Dear Backpacking Light Newsletter Subscriber,
I’d like to share something from the heart today.
Why I Spent Spring Break Hiking near Moab, Utah
A few weeks ago I spent a few days down in Moab, Utah.
There’s something about hiking in remote desert canyons – it’s emotionally cleansing.
On one of the days, we were the only hikers in a trail-less canyon where we discovered and climbed through a beautiful, remote arch.
At the trailhead:
At the arch:
Before we headed down, we made our usual stop in Fort Collins at the REI Store to buy maps, snacks, and sunscreen. Pre-trip supply shopping at REI Stores around the country has become such an ingrained part of my routine that I get the shakes when I can’t stop at an REI Store prior to a trip!
What the Outdoors Does for Me
Today I want to share with you about why I’m so passionate about the outdoors, and how one of my favorite companies, REI, has contributed to that passion.
So here’s why I love being outside, and especially, outside where I’m surrounded by remote, wild, natural environments.
1. I want to be free from over-stimulation.
Technology, traffic, shopping, todo lists, managing money, making money, responding to other people’s urgency — it’s all overwhelming.
Being free from that for a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks is good for me.
It helps me stay healthy, and it helps my mind and emotions heal from the damage they incur from living in a busy, hectic, first-world urban environment.
2. I want to experience the earth in its purest, unadulterated form – before it’s too late.
Energy development, residential and commercial development, urban development, consumerism – our society’s thirst for these things is destroying natural places at an alarming rate.
Given the recent political climate surrounding the Keystone Pipeline, Bears Ears National Monument, and development in the Grand Canyon, it’s apparent to me that nothing seems sacred or untouchable anymore. I hope future generations have the opportunities we do to experience wild nature.
Why You Should Go Outside More, with Less
Helping people get into the outdoors to experience its freedom drives the vision and activity behind Backpacking Light.
We strive to inspire people to go outside with less, so they can go outside more, and enjoy the benefits of doing so.
I sincerely believe it makes for a physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthier individual that can have a more positive impact on society.
Which brings me to REI – Recreational Equipment, Inc.
I’ve been an REI Member since I was a kid. I grew up in Seattle and some of my most treasured memories were going to REI with my Mom and Dad when I was young, and getting outfitted for our next hiking, backpacking, climbing, or camping adventure.
Why Supporting REI is a Vote for Stewardship
Now that I’m an adult, I have a deeper appreciation for what REI has done for our industry as a whole, including the donation of more than $77 million for outdoor stewardship. During my career in the Outdoor Industry, I’ve come to appreciate the role that REI has played in supporting the causes I love the most:
During my tenure on the Board of Directors of the Continental Divide Trail Association, REI was there, supporting us financially to help create America’s shining gem of the National Trails System.
I’ve delivered clinics at REI stores across the country and have appreciated their support of me as I’ve spread the message of lightweight backpacking, and the importance of environmental stewardship so we can continue recreating in the places that heal us.
As a youth mentor for the past two decades, I’ve come to have great respect for the work that REI is doing to promote youth participation in the outdoors. The value to our youth of spending time in nature is undeniable.
As you embark on your journey to become a lightweight backpacker, please consider supporting companies that are leaders in preserving and advancing opportunity for outdoor recreation, including REI.
Support Outdoor Stewardship:
Become an REI Member Today
Already an REI Member?
REI Members Save 20% Off One Full Priced Item. Plus Save an Extra 20% Off One Garage Item. Use coupon code: MEMLOVE20.
Does REI Offer Lightweight Gear?
See My Curated List of Lightweight Gear Available from REI
How does REI support outdoor recreation?
Read More About REI’s Stewardship Initiatives
Ryan and Stephanie Jordan
Owners & Founders, Backpackinglight.com
REI Members Since 1989
PS: This isn’t a sponsored post and nobody put us up to it, or paid for it. I’m writing it because I have friends, industry colleagues, and mentors who are part of the REI organization and I’ve seen their passion for changing the world. I’ve worked with REI for more than 20 years – I have first-hand experience working deeply with REI and their staff. Simply put, I want to support REI and its initiatives, and I’d like to invite you to do the same, so we can build as much steam as possible to preserve the wild places we all love and enjoy. That said, this email does contain affiliate links, see the disclosure below.
To make sure you keep getting these emails, please add [email protected] to your address book or whitelist us. Want to carry a heavier pack? Unsubscribe.
Disclosure: This email may contain affiliate links to partner merchants. If you make a purchase from one of these merchants, we may receive a small commission on the sale. This helps support the costs of maintaining our site – thank you!
Our postal address: Backpacking Light / 1627 West Main Street, Suite No. 310 / Bozeman, MT 59715 USA”Apr 5, 2017 at 8:05 pm #3461771W I S N E R !BPL Member
Ryan Jordan seems to support what they’re doing. I do too.
Being a perpetual cynic is convenient. But at the end of the day, whether you choose to believe it’s clever marketing towards a targeted demographic or a genuine interest in environmental politics, they’re doing a lot more to foster outdoor stewardship and secure access to public lands than anyone here likely is.
Would you prefer mega-retailers keep their political affiliations and opinions secret? Because they’ll likely be taking positions and spending the money either way.Apr 5, 2017 at 11:43 pm #3461807David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Good points, Craig. And while I bemoan their movement away from entirely muscle-powered sports, away from their origins of sourcing the best gear, not giving the weights of most items anymore (it used to be right in the catalog alongside each item), and their anti-democratic moves, they are far better than anyone else out there, give or take Patagonia. And no other outdoor retailer of their size is anywhere near as supportive of the environment.
If you flip it around: what would it take to keep the business viable AND make donations to wilderness causes AND return money to members, I have to admit you can’t do by selling UL gear to the likes of us. You have to sell a lot of dusty-eggplant-colored down puffies to urban millennials.Apr 6, 2017 at 7:08 am #3461826Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
yeah, good points
I commend REI and other outdoor industry people supporting the preservation of wild areasApr 6, 2017 at 7:21 am #3461830Steofan MBPL Member
@simauliusLocale: Bohemian Alps
Jerry Stritzke lives in a different world than I do.
He runs a massive, successful outdoors company. I manage a Spirits Department in a local grocery store chain. Jerry donates millions to causes he views his employees and co-op members and patrons view as important issues: like diversity and world-wide climate change that are facing all of us. Steven sells alcohol and has short, pithy conversations with people who think that the topics mentioned above are a pile of manure getting in the way of a day to get off work and go fishing or spend a weekend at the lake with the family.
Check out the location map of REI stores against a map of the last Presidential Election results. I grew up and live in the dead center of “Trump Country”, in the center of the big blank space on the REI map.
Jerry sets up video town hall meetings with all of his employees to answer the hard questions and deal with issues important to them. Steven picked up about 60 pounds of trash while hiking the MDTH Trail last summer. I didn’t call out Anheuser Busch or horse owners on social media or donate money for someone else to deal with those important issues like for the damage to the trail and the bottles left everywhere, I just picked up a whole lot of glass and tried to avoid stepping in the manure… until now perhaps.
My apologies to all for my usual ramble but I’m sure that we all think our own thoughts globally, but absolutely act on those thoughts where we are.Apr 6, 2017 at 8:45 am #3461854Apr 7, 2017 at 7:55 am #3462028KatttBPL Member
Because bringing up immigration ( even though I agree with him) has nothing to do with marketing here. oookay.Apr 7, 2017 at 10:00 am #3462040
In a democracy (which I assume we the US still are)
We are not, and have never been a democracy. We are a Republic.Apr 7, 2017 at 12:15 pm #3462081PedestrianBPL Member
“We are not, and have never been a democracy. We are a Republic.”
Rather not go down that rathole….read the linked article below:Apr 7, 2017 at 11:39 pm #3462182
Bernstein, scholar of UTSA, is dead wrong. The basis of his argument is that because people these days use ithe term wrong “modern usage” so we should treat the terms as the same. He blathers on for a long time to try and support his misguided stance. Doesn’t change the fact that it is wrong.Apr 13, 2017 at 5:49 pm #3463106Richie SBPL Member
He’s not though, it’s just become a bit of a talking point for the constitutional pedants of the world, who like to claim some sort of superior understanding. In the terms that anyone talks about democracy in any part of the world it is a democracy.
I actually like companies that take a stance, though for most of them it’s little more than BS. Switch someone like REI it does ring a little more true. The ones with the founder/owners have a little more credibility.
REI does a great job.Apr 13, 2017 at 6:33 pm #3463112
“Yes, it’s certainly correct that Madison treated “democracy” and “republic” as different concepts.”
When you start of admitting your technically wrong, BUT…. then it is pretty easy to see that you are wrong. And it isn’t claiming some superior understanding. It is actually just having an understanding at all.
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