Lloyd and Mary Anderson originally established REI as a co-op to secure reduced prices for its members. Today REI models itself as a full-service retailer (with a website, where shoppers can order and have items delivered for free to a nearby store) rather than as a low-price retailer.





  • Headquarters: Kent, Wash.
  • Founding year: 1938
  • Number of locations as of January 2011: 114
  • Brands: REI, Novara
  • 2010 sales: $1.66 billion, up 14% from the previous year

And its more than 3.5 million active members and customers benefit from the company’s commitment to helping people enjoy the great outdoors by offering innovative products that are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

In 2010, REI’s exclusive inhouse gear and apparel brand earned recognition awards from key reviewers, including Backpacking’s “2010 Editors’ Choice Gold” for the REI Half Dome 2 tent and Outside’s “2010 Gear of the Year” for the REI Half Dome 2 Plus tent. In addition, for the 14th consecutive year, the co-op was named to Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, where it was ranked number nine.

“Our financial performance in 2010 reflects the hard work of our employees, rewarded by your confidence in us. 

As members of REI, you are both our owners and customers, enabling us to focus our resources on your interests. Based on our 2010 performance, we are returning $94 million to you in patronage refunds, retaining $30.2 million in net income to invest in our future, and supporting the great outdoors in your communities with $4.3 million in grants. We also welcomed 786,530 new members to our co-op,” said Sally Jewell, president and CEO.

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