As retailers mull over whether to open or close on Thanksgiving Day, some are joining a wave of U.S. companies closing for Election Day, a move to make it easier for employees to vote.
Outdoor apparel retailer Patagonia is closing its 29 U.S. stores and its corporate office, customer service and distribution center operations Nov. 8 to drive traffic to voting booths, and wants to bring attention to environmental issues and climate change, the company said Friday.
Most of the companies who’ve signed on to the “Take Off Election Day” effort are tech and media companies, although it does include a few other retail businesses. "It really felt that this is an election that it is very important," Josh Wexler, CEO of RevCascade (a retail technology company with 14 employees), told the Associated Press. "A lot of people can't vote because they have to go to work."
Election Day in the United States is technically a “public holiday”, but few companies, especially retailers, take the day off. The U.S. is among few advanced democracies that don't take the day off to make it easier for citizens to get to the polls and stand in line to vote; many countries either sponsor elections over the weekend or give workers the day off.
Patagonia is closing for Election Day in conjunction with its Vote Our Planet campaign, which launched last month. The initiative focuses on educating citizens on voting to promote environmental issues like climate action and renewable energy. Patagonia is committing more than $1 million to the effort, hosting close to 60 events at all 29 stores in the run-up to Election Day.
Patagonia has also rolled out a website featuring voter education resources and released videos spotlighting communities devastated by environmental catastrophes.
“As a business, we have a unique ability to take a stand and choose to prioritize the health of the planet over profit, and I think it’s important we take that opportunity when it truly matters,” Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said in a statement. “We want to do everything possible to empower citizens to make their voices heard and elect candidates up and down the ballot who will protect our planet.”
Far more retail businesses will close later in November for Thanksgiving than will Election Day. Mall of America, Office Depot and hhgregg are just a few that threw in the towel for Thanksgiving 2016 after previously opening on the holiday. The dilution of Black Friday as a single-day shopping bonanza has spread sales throughout the weekend, meaning that most specialty retailers won't see significant gains from opening on Thanksgiving, according to Moody's lead retail analyst Charlie O'Shea.