REI Showcases the Power of Regenerative Business
This is a great story about retailer, REI, and its very different approach to business while working for a mission and caring for its stakeholders. One of the most interesting parts:
Another advantage of being a co-op: Since REI is technically owned by millions of members who’d get little cash from a takeover, it’d be very cumbersome for a rival to buy it out.
“It’s next to impossible to acquire REI,” says Brian Unmacht, who had a 27-year career at REI before his current stint as CEO of Bartell Drugs.
A Seattle Times story from the 1980s says General Mills once tried to buy the co-op, only to be turned away by founder Lloyd Anderson.
One of the interesting points raised in this piece is that as REI has succeeded in growing its membership, the newer, expanded base is less engaged (at least in terms of voting) than the original base, or the kinds of membership bases of other cooperative businesses.