REI Co-op to open new store in Columbia, South Carolina on August 14, invest $10,000 in local community

New store at BullStreet District will offer top quality outdoor gear and Buy Online, Pickup In Store capabilities

Aug 5, 2020

SEATTLE – REI Co-op will open its new store in Columbia, South Carolina on August 14 for limited in-store shopping, offering a wide assortment of quality outdoor gear for hiking, camping, mountain biking and paddling. The new 20,000-square-foot store was originally scheduled to open in the spring but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. REI Columbia SC will also offer Buy Online, Pickup In Store capabilities. With more than 128,000 lifetime members in state, REI Columbia SC will join the co-op’s existing location in Greenville, which opened in 2011. 

“Columbia is an incredible outdoor community and we are thrilled to open our doors here after so much anticipation,” said REI Columbia SC Store Manager Mark Sommers. “We look forward to connecting our local members and customers to the outdoor activities they love and inspiring them to get out and try something new.” 

In lieu of in-person grand opening events or giveaways, the community is invited to celebrate the store virtually. Customers can visit the Columbia SC store page for updates. In addition, REI plans to invest $5,000 each in the Friends of Sesqui and the Palmetto Conservation Foundation.  In 2019, REI invested $13,000 in the Friends of Momentum Bike Clubs and Friends of the Reedy River in South Carolina. Each year, REI invests millions in nonprofits across the country that steward and maintain local trails, parks and public lands and connect people to the outdoors.  

REI Columbia will be open for in-store shopping with several health and safety protocols in place designed to maintain physical distance between customers and employees. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Operating on a reduced schedule and limiting the number of people in store. REI Columbia SC will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Customers may be asked to wait in line outside of the store to ensure proper distancing. 
  • Requiring employees and customers over the age of two to wear face coverings. Disposable face coverings will be available for those who don’t have them. 
  • Socially distanced queuing at store entrances, footwear, cash registers and shop counters.  
  • Plexiglass shields at all registers. 
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures with thorough, frequent cleanings of high-touch surface areas. 

To help minimize wait times, customers are encouraged to plan ahead for the products they need. In addition to connecting with experts in store, REI’s Expert Advice series offers numerous resources for customers and members to learn new skills, choose the right gear and prepare for outdoor adventures. In addition, customers may schedule virtual outfitting appointments online to receive personalized, one-on-one service for things like hiking boot and running shoe fittings, cycling outfitting, and camping and backpacking outfitting from home. In addition, REI offers virtual events to connect people to the outdoors. 

Editor’s note: For images of REI in-store shopping and safety protocols, click here. To download b-roll footage, click here.  

Columbia, South Carolina store facts:  

  • Location: BullStreet District, 2300 Bull Street
  • Store hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday 
  • Size: 20,000 square feet
  • Special features and services: Buy Online, Pick Up In Store; virtual events and outfitting
  • Number of employees: 40
  • REI membership: More than 128,000 co-op members in South Carolina
  • Other South Carolina store: Greenville (opened 2011) 
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 more than 20 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 168 locations in 39 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.