REI Co-op opens new store in Vernon Hills, Illinois on Sept. 28, invests additional $20,000 in local nonprofit

New store will offer top quality gear, expertise and outdoor experiences in the Chicago area

Sep 18, 2018

SEATTLE –  Outdoor co-op REI will be officially open for business in Vernon Hills, Illinois  on September 28  in the  Mel l ody  Farm  shopping center at 901 North Milwaukee Avenue. The new store will support the growing outdoor community in the  greater  Chicago area by offering the best gear and expertise for the region’s most popular  outdoor  activities.  REI Vernon Hills  is conveniently located near  the Des Plaines River and the MacArthur Woods Forest Preserve. 

“The greater Chicago area is quickly becoming known for its access to outdoor recreation, and we’re excited to continue to grow in this community,” said Greg Hamilton, REI Vernon Hills store manager. “Our new store in Vernon Hills will  provide  members living f a rther north of Chicago  with the best gear and expertise for all of their favorite outdoor activities ,  including hiking, biking, paddling and camping.” 
REI Vernon Hills will also offer in-store workshops and outdoor experiences. Upcoming programs near  Vernon Hills  include  Kayak Tour  on the Des Plaines River  and  How to Ride a Bike  at Half  Day Forest Preserve , among others. Beyond Vernon Hills, REI offers experiences throughout the Chicago area, including paddle programs and rentals at the  REI Boathouse at Ping Tom Memorial Park  and the  REI Boathouse at Saganashkee Slough . As a national leader in outdoor experiences,  REI helped  more than 375,000 people across the country get outside with classes and events last year.  
To celebrate the new store,  REI this year has invested $20,000 in the  Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves  in Vernon Hills. Funds will help restore the shoreline at the Route 60 Canoe Launch along the Des Plaines River, and support trail restoration efforts in  Ryerson Woods .  
REI Vernon Hills is  hosting a grand opening  event  with free public activities and giveaways throughout  the weekend. 
  • Enjoy free food and activities: Starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, REI Vernon Hills will host a party in the parking lot with free breakfast, music, games and REI Outdoor School programs. Vendors will also be on site offering exclusive giveaways and demonstrations. Events end at noon each day. 
  • Shop early, get rewards: The first 250 people (age 18 and up) through the door on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will receive a limited-edition water bottle with a $10, $50 or $100 REI gift card inside. Doors open at 10 a.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. on Sunday. 
  • Local partnerships:REI is partnering with local Tighthead Brewing Company on “Greenway Boogie,” a limited-edition India pale ale. Together, REI and Tighthead Brewing Company are donating 10 percent of beer sales to Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves, which maintains the Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway, located adjacent to the new store.  
REI annually gives back nearly 70 percent of its profits to the outdoor community, and in 2018 is investing $8.8 million in over 400 nonprofits to steward more than 1,000 outdoor spaces across the country.  This includes more than $ 230,000 for  organizations in Illinois . Chicago  is also one of five U.S. cities  where REI is investing in rewilding efforts , working with nonprofit partners to transform Southeast Chicago into a thriving outdoor recreation hub .  Learn more about  these efforts here .  
REI Vernon Hills  marks the co-op’s fourth location in the greater Chicago area, joining  stores in  Oakbrook Terrace (opened 2001), Northbrook (opened 2007)  and Lincoln Park ( opened  2008, relocating in  2019). 
About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 21.5 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 175 locations in 41 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.