REI Honors Top Vendor Partners of the Year

Eagle’s Nest Outfitters, Inc. receives top accolade; divisional winners are Kühl, Thule and Osprey Packs

SALT LAKE CITY – Each day, leading outdoor retailer REI offers the top gear and apparel from more than 1,300 established and up-and-coming brands. To recognize those valued partners, REI named its 2014 Vendor Partner of the Year awards during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show. Eagle’s Nest Outfitters, Inc. (ENO) was presented with the annual Vendor Partner of the Year awards, while Kühl, Thule and Osprey Packs were named divisional winners.

The Vendor Partner of the Year awards program was established by REI in 1993. Each year, companies are nominated by the co-op’s three merchandising divisions – camp/travel, actionsports and outdoorwear – for their efforts to build a strategic and successful relationship focused on meeting member and customer needs, and to bring quality, innovation, outdoor stewardship and performance to the industry. REI retail employees vote on the slate of nominees.

“ENO redefined the hammock category and saw amazing growth in 2014,” says Susan Viscon, senior vice president REI Merchandising. “They are the consummate vendor partner. With their highly engaged, collaborative and strategic approach, they worked closely with REI to continue to deliver product and maintained above-market performance through the year.”

ENO, the brain child of brothers Peter and Paul Pinholster, was founded in the summer of 1999. Growing steadily from a two-man, one-van operation, to the leading provider of ingeniously crafted parachute hammocks and outdoor accessories, the company offers the highest quality relaxation products for adventure travellers and outdoor enthusiasts everywhere.

The divisional vendor partner awards recipients are:

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, and still anchored by the design genius of company founder and owner, Mike Pfotenhauer, Osprey Packs has long set the standard for creating innovative, high quality gear carrying equipment. The collection includes packs and bags designed to help adventurers enjoy their outdoor, biking, active-everyday, and travel pursuits.

  • Actionsports division: Thule (Seymour, CT)

The Thule brand was established in 1942. Under the motto “Bring your life,” Thule globally offers a wide range of premium products for active people that allow them to bring what they care most for safely, easily and in style. Thule offers among other things roof racks, bike carriers, roof boxes, computer/camera/sports bags and child related products like child bike seats and multifunctional strollers. The products are sold in more than 136 countries worldwide.

  • Outdoorwear division: Kühl (Salt Lake City)

Born in the Mountains®, Kühl is a product driven company combining exclusive fabrics and 3D engineering for timeless style and comfort. For independent, free thinking, Rebels, Renegades and Outlaws™.

Past recipients of the REI Vendor Partner of the Year Awards include Atlas Snowshoe (1999), Black Diamond Equipment (1994, 2006), Bell Sports (1997), Brooks (2012), CamelBak Products, LLC (2008), Cascade Designs (2001), Columbia Sportswear (1998), Eagle Creek (2000, 2005), Keen Footwear (2004), Kühl (2013), Osprey (2007), prAna (2003), Smith Optics (2002, 2009), Vasque (1995, 1996), Vibram (2010, 2011) and Yakima (1993).

About REI
REI is a $2 billion national multichannel retail co-op headquartered outside of Seattle. With more than five million active members, REI serves the needs of outdoor adventurers through innovative, quality products; inspiring classes and trips; and integrated customer service that allows shoppers to buy great gear and clothing in any way they want. REI has 138 stores in 33 states and REI.com and REI.com/outlet. Anyone may shop with REI, while members pay a one-time $20 fee to receive a share in the company’s profits through an annual member refund based on patronage. Membership in the co-op also includes special promotions and discounts on REI Adventures trips and REI Outdoor School classes.