REI Joins Outdoor Community in Chattanooga, Tennessee
New co-op store at Waterside development to open fall 2018
Mar 30, 2017
SEATTLE – In the fall of 2018, outdoor co-op REI will open a new store in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The new co-op location will offer a wide assortment of quality gear and local REI experts to help members and customers get outside. With iconic places such as the Chattahoochee National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cumberland Plateau and the Appalachians all within approximately 100 miles, REI will partner with local nonprofit, business and community leaders to support the growing outdoor community in and around Chattanooga.
“Chattanooga and the surrounding region is a special place for people who love the outdoors. REI has been in Tennessee for nearly two decades, and during that time our local teams in Brentwood (Nashville) and Knoxville have helped our members get outside and enjoy this amazing state. We’ve watched as Chattanooga has become a hub for outdoor recreation because of its central location to so many trails, parks, forests and waterways. We can’t wait to join the community, hire a team of local outdoor experts and support local nonprofits who create access to and steward the outdoors,” said Gail Kirkland, REI’s retail director for the South district.
REI Chattanooga will be located at the intersection of I-75 and Shallowford Road in the Waterside development. The single-story, 25,000 square foot store will carry the top gear and apparel for the most popular outdoor activities in the area, including hiking, trail running, rock climbing and cycling. REI Chattanooga will be the co-op’s third store in Tennessee, with existing locations in Brentwood and Knoxville.
REI Outdoor School will offer a robust in-store schedule of educational programs about hiking, climbing, biking, backpacking, paddling and more. In addition the store will host presentations by well-known authors and athletes.
REI opened its first Tennessee location in Brentwood in 1999 and has partnered with several local nonprofits over the past two decades. In 2016, REI invested $65,000 in eight local nonprofits, which was part of the co-op’s $9.3 million investment in nonprofits throughout the country. The co-op invested nearly $30,000 in the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to support the Alum Cave Trail and restoration efforts following the wildfires. On National Trails Day in early June, the co-op will partner with Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to repair park areas devastated last year, and REI members and customers will be invited to lend their sweat equity. REI also supported organizations such as the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association, Friends of South Cumberland and Appalachian Mountain Bike Club. With its new store in Chattanooga, REI will foster new nonprofit partnerships to directly benefit the local outdoor community.
In addition, REI Adventures has guided small group active travel trips in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for more than five years and today operates four itineraries in the iconic park. The travel leader recently introduced a four-day Great Smoky Mountains Women’s Adventure led by a female guide where women hike the historic Appalachian Trail, raft and zip line.
Join the REI Team
Candidates interested in joining the REI team at any local store can apply online at rei.jobs. The co-op expects to hire 50 employees for the new store who receive a variety of benefits, including generous product and service discounts, competitive pay and retirement contributions. For 20 consecutive years, REI has been recognized as one of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 6 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 147 stores in 36 states. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI.com/rei-garage or the free REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs 170 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI’s Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses 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.