REI Co-op to open new store in Gainesville, Florida on July 24, invests $10,000 in local community

New store will offer top quality outdoor gear, zero contact bike shop services and Buy Online, Pickup In Store

Jul 16, 2020

SEATTLE – REI Co-op will open its new store in Gainesville, Florida on July 24 for limited in-store shopping, offering a wide assortment of quality outdoor gear for hiking, camping, mountain biking and paddling. The new 23,000-square-foot store at Butler Town Center was originally scheduled to open in the spring but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. REI Gainesville will also offer Buy Online, Pickup In Store and zero contact bike shop services. With more than 320,000 lifetime members in state, REI Gainesville marks the co-op’s third location in Florida, joining existing stores in Jacksonville and Winter Park. 


“We are thrilled to finally open our store in Gainesville and share our love for the outdoors with this incredible community,” said Wendy Green, REI Gainesville store manager. “Whether paddling, cycling or camping, we aspire to be at the center of people’s lives outdoors.” 


In lieu of in-person grand opening events or giveaways, the community is invited to celebrate the store virtually. Customers can visit the Gainesville store page for updates. In addition, REI is donating $5,000 each to the Friends of Paynes Prairie and the Florida Paddling Trails Association. REI has been part of the Florida outdoor community since opening its Jacksonville store in 2013 and plans to open new stores in Boca Raton in fall 2020 and Tampa in 2021. In 2019, REI invested $140,000 in local outdoor nonprofits in Florida. 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 Gainesville will be open for in-store shopping with several health and safety protocols in place designed to maintain 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 Gainesville will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and 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, 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 is offering 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.  


Gainesville store facts: 

  • Location: Butler Town Center, 3650 32nd Court, Suite 10 
  • Size: 23,000 square feet 
  • Special features: Bike shop with zero contact shop services; Buy Online, Pickup In Store; virtual events and outfitting 
  • Number of employees: 34 
  • REI membership: More than 320,000 co-op members in Florida 
  • Other Florida stores: Jacksonville (opened 2013), Winter Park (opened 2017), Boca Raton (opens fall 2020), Tampa (opens 2021) 

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 178 locations in 42 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.