DENVER (CBS4)– REI, the outdoor gear store for nearly any sport, will not sell you anything on Black Friday, either in its stores or online. Instead, the retail giant wants shoppers to get outside and enjoy the day.

REI will be closing all 143 of their stores the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday.

“I started yelling before the final words came out of his mouth and crying,” said Denver REI employee Pete Citrano. “Twenty years I’ve been a part of this co-op and I couldn’t be more proud, 20 years I haven’t had Black Friday off.”

“Instead of reporting to work, we’re paying our employees to do what we love most — be outside,” REI said in a statement on Monday. “We’re passionate about bringing you great gear, but we’re even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks for all of us … on this one day, we’re going to #OptOutside and we want you to join us.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

For what the chain will lose in sales, it is expected to make up for in free publicity. It was a big topic on Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, “I don’t expect to see a lot of other retailers closing,” said one anchor.

REI’s customers seem to be understanding, more than a month away from the shopping holiday.

“I think it’s wonderful, I think Christmas comes earlier and earlier it’s nice to have thanksgiving weekend have time off,” said one customer. “It’s what the holidays are all about be with your family and taking time off.”

REI shoppers talk to CBS4's Suzanne McCarroll (credit: CBS)

REI shoppers talk to CBS4’s Suzanne McCarroll (credit: CBS)

Shoppers who try to access REI’s online site on Black Friday will be met with a sign that instructs them to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors. There will also be links to outdoor activities in the local neighborhood.

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