REI Co-op to open new store in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on September 4, invest $10,000 in local community

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

Aug 26, 2020

SEATTLE – REI Co-op will open its new store in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on September 4 for limited in-store shopping, offering a wide assortment of quality outdoor gear for hiking, camping, climbing and more. Designed to be a gateway to outdoor adventures in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, REI Pigeon Forge will feature the co-op’s newest retail format offering a variety of gear rentals, zero contact bike shop services for maintenance and repairs and Buy Online Pickup In Store capabilities. The new 21,500-square-foot store was originally scheduled to open in the spring but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. REI Pigeon Forge marks the co-op’s fifth location in the state and will serve the co-op’s nearly 250,000 lifetime members in Tennessee and the millions of visitors that adventure in the region every year.

“With proximity to the most visited national park in the country, Pigeon Forge is an exciting and unique location that will allow us to connect our members to the outdoors,” said Matt Wheat, REI Pigeon Forge store manager. “Whether you’re someone with years of experience who needs a piece of technical equipment, or a first-time camper looking to rent gear, our goal is to help every adventurer in the Great Smokies get outside.”

In lieu of in-person grand opening events or giveaways, the community is invited to celebrate the store virtually. Customers can visit the Pigeon Forge store page for updates. In addition, REI plans to invest $5,000 each in two local nonprofits: Discover Life in America and Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. REI has been part of the Tennessee outdoor community for more than 20 years, opening its first store in Brentwood in 1999. In 2019, REI invested $98,000 in local outdoor nonprofits in Tennessee. 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 Pigeon Forge 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 Pigeon Forge will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 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.

Pigeon Forge store facts:

  • Location: The Tower Shops at Mountain Mile, 2655 Teaster Lane
  • Store hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
  • Size: 21,500 square feet
  • Special features and services: Gear rentals; bike shop with zero contact shop services; Buy Online, Pick Up In Store; virtual events and outfitting
  • Number of employees: 35
  • REI membership: Nearly 250,000 lifetime co-op members in Tennessee
  • Other Tennessee stores: Brentwood (opened 1999), Knoxville (opened 2014), Chattanooga (opened 2018), and Memphis (opened 2018)
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 19 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 167 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, 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, a global leader that runs more than 250 itineraries across all continents. In every community 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.