<== Store of the Day for 2017-12-13 ==>
Recreation Equipment, Inc.
All of my favorite possessions seem to have come from REI. The company offers high quality products that last.
Perhaps the quality of products has something to do with the organizational structure of the store:
REI is a consumer co-op. The co-op began with a group of outdoor enthusiasts who were unable to find the quality gear that they desired at the traditional sporting goods store. These outdoor enthusiasts pooled their resources, and started buying the gear they wanted.
In many cases the buyers at REI worked directly with manufacturers to create a better product.
Outdoor enthusiasts tend to be a frugle lot. They don't like wasting money. When you use the equipment you purchase you tend to develop a healthy understanding of the balance between cost and quality. The lowest cost gear often falls short. In backcountry sports, there is no room for gear that often falls short.
A well seasoned camper knows that a sleeping bag that does not keep one warm or a tent that can't hold up to a storm is wasted money.
So, in backcountry gear, one shouldn't look for the lowest price but the best price point between cost and quality. The founders of the co-op got the equation right.
REI continues the model of a buyers' co-op. When you visit REI, you have the option of becoming a member. You pay a one time membership fee. As a member of the co-op, you are entitled to vote for the corporate leadership. Each year, you receive a dividend based on your purchases during the year. The mathematics of membership is easy. You pay to be a member, then get money back every year. The membership fee is a good investment.