Outdoor and sports gear retailer REI will not be open this year on Black Friday; instead, leaders are encouraging consumers to forgo shopping and go outside-a move that has inspired local businessmanJim Johnson.
“We decided this morning to change our holiday policy,” he said. “Now, all employees get Black Friday off with pay.”
Johnson also decided to give employees paid time off on Christmas Eve and half of New Year’s Eve, in addition to other traditional holidays they usually get off.
Additionally, the company has a policy that allows employees to take a half-day a month to spend time outside. And if they bring an employee along with them to experience a new outdoor activity, that half-day off isn’t counted as time off, so they get another free half-day.
“What we are trying to do is encourage employees to have new experiences and share their passions with other employees,” Johnson said.
There’s an increasing trend in retail to be open first and longer during the holidays, Johnson said. But he’s hopeful that movement will slow and people will get back to family and spending time outdoors. He wants to see other companies taking similar steps to help make that happen.
BikeTours.com, which has eight employees, connects consumers with more than 450 bike tours in 70 countries.
Johnson said he understands that it’s possible a potential customer will reach out on Black Friday, and if they don’t hear back immediately, BikeTours.com could lose that business.
But it’s a risk worth taking, he said.
The only thing more important than clients is family, he said.
“The world doesn’t need to be Walmart,” he said. “We don’t need to be open 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Updated @ 9:08 a.m. on 10/29/15.