Each day, REI Co-op offers customers the best outdoor gear and apparel from thousands of established and up-and-coming outdoor brands. This week, REI presented its 2020 Vendor Partner of the Year awards to brands that help make a significant impact to the co-op’s mission and purpose to inspire and enable a life outside for everyone.
REI Vendor Partner of the Year award recipients
Footwear and apparel manufacturer HOKA ONE ONE®, headquartered in Goleta, California, received the co-op’s overall 2020 Vendor Partner of the Year award.
“Our vendors and their offerings play a vital role in keep REI relevant to the consumer and our members,” said Chris Speyer, REI vice president of product. “It’s always a challenge to select one partner as our vendor of the year, but for 2020 HOKA stood out as a truly exceptional partner. Its ongoing commitment to progressive products, compelling collaborations and innovation truly resonated with our running customer. Most importantly, we’re excited by HOKA brand’s commitment to its impact agenda and particularly its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
The following vendors collected 2020 divisional honors for the year:
- Action sports: Cannondale (Wilton, Connecticut), 2019 all-around Vendor Partner of the Year award recipient, responded to pandemic market conditions with quick, confident leadership and decision-making. They partnered to open direct-to-consumer sales of bicycles immediately upon the closure of REI stores and created online training content tailored specifically for the needs of REI’s retail staff to support sales expertise upon reopening. Cannondale also continued to prepare for the future, developing a progressive packaging reduction strategy including the introduction of 100% sustainable packaging on select 2021 bicycles.
- Camp: NEMO Equipment (Dover, New Hampshire), a 2017 Vendor Partner of the Year category award recipient, returns as the divisional winner for REI’s camp division for its ongoing commitment to product innovation, and work to complement REI’s broader sustainability impact goals. A leading peer-influencer and founding member of the OIA’s Climate Action Corps, NEMO Equipment was also one of the first brands to take on REI’s initiative to eliminate packaging waste by discontinuing use of individual polybags, and was also recognized with a 2021 Green Good Design Award.
- Apparel: Fjällräven (Örnsköldsvik, Sweden) is known for delivering timeless, durable clothing that REI customers love. In 2020, Fjällräven exceeded partnership goals by designing a customized, brand experience allowing customers to get to know Fjällräven’s brand in a new way. Fjällräven continues to be an industry leader in sustainability practices and was one of the first brands to take on REI’s initiative to eliminate packaging waste by discontinuing use of individual polybags.
- Footwear and basics: Darn Tough Vermont® (Northfield, Vermont), 2013 Vendor Partner of the Year category award recipient, wins again this year not only because of the superior quality of its socks but also for its exceptional handling of volatile supply needs in 2020. A family-owned sock mill producing exclusively in Vermont, Darn Tough supports its workers and the communities from which they come through indirect employment, revitalization, and nearly 900,000 meals donated to the Vermont Foodbank.
The Vendor Partner of the Year awards program was established by REI in 1993. Each year, companies are nominated by the co-op’s four merchandising divisions – action sports, camp, apparel, and footwear and basics – for partnering with REI to meet customer needs, raise the bar for product quality and drive sustainable business practices.
About the REI Co-op
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 20 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 168 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.