REI has announced its 2001 Vendor Partnership Awards, with the overall Vendor Partner of the Year grand prize recognition going to Cascade Designs. The annual award serves to pay tribute to three vendors and one overall best vendor that REI believes represent the best of those companies they do business with in terms of financial performance, community and industry involvement, product quality, and a few other criteria. The retail stores vote on a panel of nominee companies presented by REI’s merchandising divisions. Cascade garners the highest number of votes earning them the grand prize recognition. Merrell earned accolades as the Outdoorwear Division winner. Petzl America nailed down the Camping / Travel Division top spot with Yakima securing best of class in the Actionsports Division.