Outdoor Companies Opt Out Of Black Friday

Nov 25, 2015

Arcade Belts' 2015 "White Friday" campaign.

The outdoor industry is increasingly bucking the Black Friday trend. We caught up with one local company to find out more.

On Black Friday, in 2011, outdoor retailer Patagonia took out a different sort of ad. Running a full page, with a photo of a Patagonia jacket, it read "Don't Buy This Jacket." The accompanying paragraph explained Patagonia's anti-consumption stance, but ironically the campaign sent the company's sales through the roof.

Patagonia's 2011 Black Friday "Don't Buy This Jacket" ad campaign.

It also sparked something of a trend in the outdoor industry.

"I see all these companies that are young and progressive and cool and they're doing these big Black Friday discounts and basically doing the same thing Wal-Mart does. And it really, to me, is not that inspiring. It's definitely not part of the culture that we want to be a part of."

That's Cody Townsend, co-founder of Tahoe-based belt company Arcade Belts. He says the company's "White Friday" campaign, through which it donates $5 from the sale of each belt to environmental nonprofit Protect Our Winters, resonates more with customers.

"It just aligns with them better, and really it aligns with us the most. It's something we wanted to do. It's not like a gimmick or anything it's that we -- I don't know -- just didn't feel like being a part of this mayhem of Black Friday."

Bigger companies are continuing to opt out as well. REI announced it will close all of its stores on Black Friday, and Patagonia will be promoting product repairs through its Worn Wear program. The company actually employs 45 full-time repair technicians at its service center in Reno, who repair about 30,000 items like hiking boots and jackets each year.