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By Stan Bush

DENVER (CBS4) – Some people may already be camped out in front of their favorite stores for Black Friday deals, but one place they won’t be shopping is a camping store itself.

REI, the outdoor retailer, will be closed for the third year in a row on Black Friday as part of their Opt Outside campaign. The company is paying their employees to get back to nature and urging others to join them.

REI employees Chris and Megan Ulrich say this will be the first Opt Out day they’ve actually enjoyed because their daughter will be able to fully participate.

rei opt out Outdoor Store Urges Black Friday Shoppers To Opt Outside

REI employee Chris Ulrich (credit: CBS)

“We tried to do what we could and that’s kind of where we’ve been,” says Chris Ulrich, who works in the Denver flagship store.

Cadence, the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, suffered from a failing heart valve that made strenuous activity nearly impossible.

rei opt out3 Outdoor Store Urges Black Friday Shoppers To Opt Outside

(credit: Ulrich family)

“”It was hard to hold her back from the things I got joy out of because I could see that she wanted it,” says Chris Ulrich.

Cadence had open-heart surgery last September to correct the problem and now has a clean bill of health. On Friday her parents will take her snowboarding for the first time.

rei opt out2 Outdoor Store Urges Black Friday Shoppers To Opt Outside

(credit: Ulrich family)

“We tried to do what we could. Now we can do what we can.”

The Ulrich’s plan to snowboard at Loveland Ski Area or near Berthoud Pass.

In Colorado, residents seem to have taken the Opt Outside message literally. The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates a record numbers of drivers are heading to the high country for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

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