REI Co-op has announced a reopening plan for its 162 stores and customer-facing services, as states begin to open limited outdoor activities.
To start, the specialty outdoor retailer will begin offering curbside pick-up at more than half of its stores across the country this week and will launch zero-contact bike shop services in select locations. It hopes to have curbside open in time for its Anniversary Sale, slated for May 15-25.
The co-op will also begin opening its stores to customers, beginning with three stores in Montana. Beyond the ramp-up of its physical retail, the co-op has been actively developing additional ways to serve members, including virtual events and gatherings, a pilot program for virtual outfitting, and an updated returns process. Those services will begin rolling out in select stores during the coming weeks.
"I'm writing to share some good news," wrote Eric Artz, REI president and CEO, in a letter to members on May 12, 2020. "After two months of temporary closures, this week we will begin reopening our stores—just in time to celebrate our 82nd anniversary. In some places 'opening' will mean curbside service. In others, our doors will open for a limited number of customers. In every case, we'll be taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities."
As the co-op reopens stores, they will operate differently as REI implements a number of health and safety guidelines. Stores will operating on a reduced schedule and limit the number of people allowed inside. Employees will be required to wear face coverings, while REI is only asking customers to wear them. The retailer will make disposable face coverings available for those who don't have them.
There will also be socially distanced queuing at store entrances, cash registers and shop counters and REI is installing plexiglass shields at all registers.
All REI retail locations have been closed since March 16, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The co-op will use four factors to determine where it can reopen customer-facing services:
The co-op's ability to ensure a set of detailed health and safety protocols
Local community readiness and sentiment
Federal, state, and local guidelines and restrictions
Facility and team operational readiness
"We have made significant progress in all of these areas over the last month, and we are ready to begin expanding services in many of our stores," Artz wrote
The latest information about store-by-store services can be found here.