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Recreation Equipment Inc.

Consumer co-op and retailer of outdoor equipment.

6750 S. 228th St.
Kent, WA 98032
Employees: 12,000
CEO: Jerry Stritzke
Privately held co-op

Website: http://www.rei.com

Career Site

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) is a leading outdoor gear and apparel retailer with 143 stores in 35 states. These stores range in size from 10,000 square-feet to 95,000 square-feet and include a variety of facilities for testing equipment including bike test trails, climbing pinnacles and camp stove demonstration tables.

REI offers products from all of the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, outdoor fitness, paddling, snowsports and travel, including its own line of award-winning gear and apparel.

REI is also the nation's largest consumer cooperative with more than 5.5 million active members and customers through its stores and by direct sales via the internet, telephone, and mail.

The company also has an outdoor adventure company called REI Adventures.

Each year, REI shares its profits with its members through an annual patronage refund in proportion to their eligible purchases. Members pay a one-time $20 membership fee. While anyone may shop at REI, only members may share in the co-op’s profits.

REI headquarters is located in Kent, WA, 18 miles south of Seattle. The company's Distribution Center and Contact Center are located in Sumner, WA, approximately 37 miles southeast of Seattle.

Sales in 2012 were a record $2.2 billion, up 9.9%, and net income of $44.1 million.

The co-op returned $168 million to members based upon 2014 sales, a 46% increase from the previous year. 945,000 new members joined in 2014.

REI has been named one of The 100 Best Companies to Work For by Fortune magazine every year since 1998.

The company made national news this year for deciding to close stores on Black Friday after Thanksgiving and to give employees the day off.


In 1938, mountain climbers Lloyd and Mary Anderson joined with 21 fellow Northwest climbers to found Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). The group structured REI as a consumer cooperative to purchase high-quality ice axes and climbing equipment from Europe because such gear could not be purchased locally.  The word quickly spread, and soon many other outdoors people joined the co-op.  As REI grew, so too did the range of outdoor gear available to the co-op members.

During the past six decades, REI has grown into a renowned supplier of specialty outdoor gear and clothing.


Incentive Pay
Pay at REI is market-competitive and performance-based. In addition to base pay, all employees are eligible for REI's incentive pay program, a rarity in the retail world. Each employee's incentive payout is based on the performance of REI overall, the employee's store/division and his or her personal job performance. It's a way to share REI's success with employees at all levels.

Retirement and Profit Sharing
REI offers an exceptional retirement plan to benefits-eligible employees. We guarantee a contribution of 5 percent of your eligible annual earnings, and up to an additional 10 percent, as company profit allows. While the additional 10 percent contribution isn't a guarantee, thanks to REI's company-wide success, employees frequently receive a 15 percent deferred contribution.

REI's Flex Plan allows employees to customize health benefits to meet their needs. REI provides Flex Dollars to help purchase a core set of benefits and subsidizes coverage for spouses, eligible dependents and life partners. Flex Plan options include medical, dental, orthodontia, vision; life insurance, disability and accidental death/dismemberment insurance; and flexible spending accounts. Alternative medicine such as massage, chiropractic and acupuncture are also included in our healthcare plans.

PaTH Plan
Part-time employees working less than 20 hours per week, temporary employees on the REI payroll and seasonal employees are eligible to enroll in the PaTH Plan after 30 days of employment. This health care program has a yearly benefit limit per enrolled individual and provides coverage for medical, dental and life insurance. The medical and life premiums are company subsidized at 60% and 100% respectively.

Healthy Lifestyle Benefit
REI employees can also earn extra Flex dollars to help purchase Flex Benefits by engaging in specific, simple "good behaviors": getting regular aerobic exercise and always wearing a seat belt when traveling in a vehicle.

Professional Growth & Development
The vitality of both our retail and internet businesses continues to create opportunities for talented, dedicated and knowledgeable staff. And since REI places a priority on promoting from within, REI offers significant growth opportunities for staff members who regularly achieve and exceed performance standards.

We provide a host of training for employees, from product knowledge and sales training to leadership and management training. Training programs are customized to fit the specific need of a store, work team, department, or individual. Employees also have access to training resources and guidelines for self-assessment, job opportunities research, development planning and interviewing.

Tuition Assistance
Our REACH program provides you with financial support to pursue higher education that relates to the business of REI. REACH reimburses for the tuition of eligible courses within a degree or certificate program.

Challenge Grant
REI's all about the difference that connecting with the outdoors can make in a person's life. That's the impetus behind the Challenge Grant program. Through the program, employees can receive up to $300 in retail credit to help them purchase REI-brand products for a specific outdoor challenge.

Time Away from Work
REI believes time away from work promotes a balanced life, so employees are provided with the means to get out of the office without losing pay. This can include vacation and sick pay, sabbatical, and eight holidays each year.

In addition to leaves for family and medical reasons, employees may use personal leave time for outdoor challenges, volunteer service projects and educational purposes.

Discounts & ProDeals
Employee Discount and ProDeals
REI employees receive deep discounts via in-store and online sales. The employee discount also includes free equipment rentals for personal use from any REI store. Additionally, REI and many of its vendors offer a personal use ProDeal program to employees. Under the program, purchases can be made directly from vendors at a very deep discount.

REI Adventures
REI offers major discounts off the cost of trips through our adventure travel business, including last-minute bargains and a monthly employee special. REI Adventures offers active travel packages, and trips may include group activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking and climbing.

At REI, we want our employees to be successful and to feel appreciated for their contributions to the company. Accomplishments are applauded in many ways.

Peer-nominated Anderson and President's Awards are presented annually to employees whose achievements exemplify REI's core values. Award winners' names are inscribed on a pathway at Headquarters, and President's Award recipients participate in an all-expenses paid adventure trip. Also, Leadership Awards are granted to recognize the contributions of outstanding management staff.
Other rewards include an annual holiday gift, usually an exclusive piece of REI gear or apparel; employee anniversary celebrations; employee appreciation awards; store and department team-building staff events; and an Employee Referral Bonus paid to employees when we hire candidates whom they have referred to REI.

Culture & Work Environment
It all starts with our bedrock of nonnegotiable values: authenticity, quality, service, respect, character and balance. REI also supports outdoor recreation, conservation and community causes. Surveys show that employees take great pride in REI and have very high expectations of the company. Employees appreciate a strong set of values that serve as a foundation for how we conduct business, how we serve members and how we treat each other. REI is a lifestyle, and our culture is a primary reason why REI is special.

Work Environment
At REI, employees have fun on the job and enjoy spending time with each other in and out of the workplace. In our casual work environment, staff members feel the freedom and support to do their work. REI encourages work/life balance for all employees, respecting the diversity and depth of individuals' passions. These elements contribute to making employees proud and happy to work at REI.

Additional Benefits
Adoption Assistance
REI offers an Adoption Assistance program to all Flex Benefits eligible employees who have worked at REI for 12 consecutive months. The program reimburses eligible expenses up to a maximum of $3,000 per adoption.

Employee Assistance Program
REI offers a free employee assistance program to all employees and members of their households. The EAP is a confidential service that can provide employees and their family members with phone and/or one on one consultation, legal advice, elder care and/or daycare referrals, financial planning, a convenience service and educational materials on personal and work/life issues.

Alternative Commute Options
REI reimburses 50 percent of the cost of passes for buses, subways, trains and ferries. These programs allow employees to use convenient public transportation at a discount and helps relieve traffic congestion. We also partially fund a successful local vanpooling program through our Headquarters in Kent, WA. In addition, we actively encourage employees to bike to work, offering bike storage, showers and locker rooms.

Relocation Support
We provide relocation assistance for new hires at our Headquarters and Distribution Center locations who are relocating to the Seattle area. We also provide assistance to promoted and/or transferring employees moving between REI locations.

The perks don't stop there. In addition to the above, the following benefits are also available to employees: casual dress every day, flexible working arrangements, retirement investment education, and REI Baby Membership. At our headquarters in Kent, WA, employees enjoy lunchtime activities such as bike rides, Ultimate Frisbee, running, yoga and basketball.

Updated December 8, 2015