REI announced its 2012 Vendor Partner of the Year award recipients during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show, with few surprises or upstart brands able to beat out vert well-established brands. Leading the awards, 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, action sports 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.”
In 2011, Brooks launched its PureProject, which elevated REI’s collection of lightweight running shoes, says the company.
Elswhere, Osprey was named as the top vendor partner for the Camp/Travel division, while Thule took top honors in the action sports division and prAna in the outdoorwear division.
Past recipients of the REI Vendor Partner of the Year Award include well-known names including 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).