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I joined in '77 with a mid 700,000 member number to get the gear I couldn't find locally and was amazed that my dividend got me a cool pair of glacier glasses (17% dividend that year; highest ever as that was a very profitable year before the corporate mandated 10%) Fast forward to the '90's where I worked in the Phoenix store and during sale events we would give out prizes during the day and our favorite method was calling out over the PA for the lowest member number in the next five minutes. The prizes were anything from trinkets like pull tab thermometers to Coleman Peak One stoves. We would surprisingly have winners with three and four digit member numbers and they weren't all from Seattle either! No other store I've ever worked at engendered that kind of customer loyalty. A real tribute to the community cooperative concept and the kind and caring people who join in their love for the outdoors. Thank you, Doug C. employee number 22173 (I think)
@DougC thanks for sharing this story with us! Lots of stores have found fun and creative ways to celebrate our long-standing members!
I have SO many stories having been a backpacker for about 10 years now. But I’ll just share the most recent and that is last month my husband and I took our 4 month old son at the time on his first beach/camping adventure in the Florida Keys. He LOVED it! 4 month sleep regression was non-existent. We had to buy a new tent from REI this trip to make space for all 3 of us - we’ve been using our 2P for the last 6 years. He slept like a log in the tent! And he had a blast swimming and hiking every day. We’re confident we’ve already made him an outdoor enthusiast for life!
@AmandaK love this story - the outdoors often has such a calming effect on kiddos! We'd love to see a picture from this trip, if you've got one to share!
I am a newish member to the Elite REI Club. I am also 37 years young and am an avid YouTube watcher and this spring I am starting my very own YouTube channel where I will be showing bushcraft and survival skills. Much of my gear has been collected over the past several years and recently started purchasing items through REI. My hope is to incorporate REI and ALL that REI stands for from gear to the company itself. Thank you very much for being who and what you are REI...
Here’s my member story. This year I turned 65...... and dressed in my REI best, I decided I’d be the litter-atti for my neighborhood. I adopted about 6 blocks I walk on regularly. Walking my dog or slow jogging I pick up ALL litter I find. I’ve now expanded to 10 blocks. The impact is visible and satisfying. Instead of generating anger, I’m filled with a feeling of giving back. It’s a really good thing.
I participated in the Boulder Mountaineering School (sponsored by the Colorado Mountain Club) in 1988, and joined REI that year. At that time, there was only one REI store in Denver, and none in Boulder or Fort Collins. I used the membership to buy some climbing and camping supplies.
While I don't climb any longer, I still enjoy hiking, backpacking, and car camping, and often buy through REI. I thru hiked the Colorado Trail in 2018, and my first stop after arriving in Denver was to buy an isobutane fuel canister at the Flagship REI in Denver.