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What do you mean you don't carry REI?

I was entertaining myself one day by cleaning up after customers who enjoy remerchandising product in less than conventional ways when a woman approached me and asked if I worked here. I replied in the affirmative. She wanted to know where the REI "jogging suits" she had seen awhile back in our store were. I was a little amused by this because we are a small locally owned shop. I told her that we didn't carry REI product. She was taken aback and asked whether or not I had even heard of them.


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I was entertaining myself one day by cleaning up after customers who enjoy remerchandising product in less than conventional ways when a woman approached me and asked if I worked here. I replied in the affirmative.

She wanted to know where the REI “jogging suits” she had seen awhile back in our store were. I was a little amused by this because we are a small locally owned shop. I told her that we didn’t carry REI product. She was taken aback and asked whether or not I had even heard of them.

“They have great product. R-E-I. I think it stands for…,” She fumbled.

“Recreational Equipment Incorporated,” I offered.

“Yeah, that might be it. I can’t believe you don’t carry their stuff. You should really check out their site, and tell your manager or store owner about them. I think it’s just rei.com. In fact,” she continued as she gestured toward a nearby kiosk, “I can show you now. I have time.”

She then insisted on walking me through the site, and pointing out the things she liked. Drawing my attention to the “store directory” link , she informed me that REI has its own stores. Apparently they have catalogs too.

Shortly thereafter she left the store feeling happy that she had enlightened another retail employee in the outdoor industry, and left me feeling grateful that our customers understand that we are not as well-informed here behind the “redwood curtain” and need these little updates from time-to-time.
by Nikki Hodgson

Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page — click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges’ votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official “honorable mentions,” and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) — those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it’s that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog — but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year’s contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven’t already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at www.outsidebusinessjournal.com/freeretail/snewsarticle-contest.html. Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.