REI announced its 2012 Vendor Partner of the Year award recipients during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show. Brooks was presented with the annual “Vendor Partner of the Year” award, while Thule, PrAna 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 bring quality, innovation, outdoor stewardship and performance to the industry. REI retail employees vote on the slate of nominees.
“Brooks has consistently been a valuable partner in helping strengthen our position as a leader in fitness footwear,” says Lee Fromson, senior vice president REI Merchandising. “Aside from providing ongoing program support and aligning with REI’s mission, they’ve brought our customers new ways to experience lightweight running and new products they love.”
The other divisional vendor partner award recipients are:
- Camp/Travel division: Osprey Packs (Cortez, Colo.) has long set the standard for creating innovative, high quality gear carrying equipment. Being located near the rugged San Juan Mountains and on the edge of desert canyon country, provides a constant inspiration and a superb testing ground for its products. The collection includes packs and bags designed to help adventurers enjoy their outdoor, biking and travel pursuits and reflects the company’s commitment to protect the wild places its customers love to explore.
- Actionsports division: Thule (Seymour, Conn.), established in Sweden in 1942, is now a premium brand used around the world. Under the motto “Bring your life,” Thule offers a wide assortment of accessories to simplify the transportation of your gear and equipment in a secure, safe and stylish way. Roof racks, bike and water sport carriers, roof boxes, snow chains as well as luggage bags and boxes are just some examples of what Thule offers.
- Outdoorwear division: prAna (Carlsbad, Calif.) has deep roots in rock climbing and yoga. The company manufactures and markets performance, active, lifestyle and travel apparel and accessories for men and women. PrAna’s design signature blends contemporary style with technical features and is grounded in ideals of sustainability.
Past recipients of the REI Vendor Partner of the Year Award include Atlas Snowshoe (1999), Black Diamond Equipment (1994, 2006), Bell Sports (1997), CamelBak Products, LLC (2008), Cascade Designs (2001), Columbia Sportswear (1998), Eagle Creek (2000, 2005), Keen Footwear (2004), Osprey (2007), prAna (2003), Smith Optics (2002, 2009), Vasque (1995, 1996), Vibram (2010, 2011) and Yakima (1993).