REI Opens Doors of its DC Flagship in Historic Washington Coliseum
Co-op celebrates opening on Friday with three-day block party of events for outdoor community
Oct 21, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – REI, the national outdoor co-op, opens its fifth flagship store today in Washington, D.C. REI has been running 100 days of outdoor events this summer in D.C. under the banner “United Outside” to bring people across the political spectrum together. The effort culminates this weekend with a block party to celebrate the opening of the 51,000 square-foot store in the NOMA neighborhood, just blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The store will offer the outdoor community a spot to reconnect with one another and discover world-class outdoor gear curated specifically for the region,
“Opening this incredible store in Washington, D.C. in a contentious election year has been fun, if a little challenging given all the noise around the election. It’s important to get past all that, though, and we’ve been working to show that the outdoors brings people together. Thousands of residents have connected this summer through our 100 ‘United Outside’ events. We’ve designed this flagship to be a beautiful convening space where the outdoor community can plan adventures over a great cup of coffee and gear-up,” said Jerry Stritzke, CEO and president of REI.
The distinct features of the REI DC Flagship include:
- A 1,052-square-foot La Colombe café for customers to enjoy a specialty coffee beverage while planning their next outing.
- An Adventure Station offered in partnership with the National Park Service and REI outdoor experts, will connect our members with advice on where to go and how to best enjoy the outdoors.
- An outdoor courtyard at the store’s core for adventurers to gather, featuring a fireplace and views of the building’s historic structural concrete arches.
- Bike, ski and snowboard shop services that will cater to the District’s cycling and snow sports assembly and repair needs.
- A community space with a robust schedule of free and low-cost, in-store classes for cycling, paddling, fitness, hiking and camping, climbing, snow sports, photography and wilderness medicine.
- A collection of gear shops that will blend into a commons area that creates a communal shopping experience.
“Our employees have been connecting with the outdoor community within the District and beyond since we first announced that we were opening a store nearly two years ago. Our members have been patiently waiting and we’re excited to open our doors. The flagship’s design represents a whole new approach to how REI thinks about the customer experience, presenting the co-op, our services and experience at their best,” said Rebecca Smith, general manager of REI’s DC Flagship.
Creating Access to the Outdoors
The co-op has offered Outdoor School classes throughout the region and events at the Wunder Garten outdoor space for more than a year, reaching more than 75,000 people. So far this year, REI has educated nearly 16,000 participants, and more than 60,000 people joined through 100 days of United Outside events. This includes nearly 42,000 people who participated in REI’s DC Free Weekend, where the co-op partnered with Capital Bikeshare, Key Bridge Boathouse and the National Park Service for free outdoor activities in June.
The co-op invested more than $1 million in local and national nonprofits throughout the region this year to shape outdoor places for the future. This includes:
- Investing $240,000 in 14 local nonprofits, including Rock Creek Conservancy and the Shenandoah National Park Trust.
- Granting an additional $100,000 in five nonprofits, including C&O Canal Trust, Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), Anacostia Watershed Society and the Outdoor Foundation—where REI helped send every 4th grader in Washington, D.C. to a national park.
- Committing a total of $500,000 to WABA over the next three years to support a connected bike system to allow for easier and safer bike commuting.
- Supporting national nonprofit organizations based in DC, including IMBA and National Park Foundation.
- REI will celebrate the flagship opening with a three-day block party in the Wunder Garten and Storey Park, hosting outdoor classes and activities with a line-up of national and local musicians.
Honoring History Through Design
The co-op worked closely with its partners Douglas Development, CallisonRTKL and Davis Construction to honor the history of the retail space through smart design and construction. The building, formally known as the Washington Coliseum and Uline Arena, opened in 1941. Additional details about the rich history of the building and how historic elements were woven throughout the store are available at newsroom.rei.com.
“CallisonRTKL has had a long relationship with REI developing their next generation retail concepts, including their flagship in SoHo,” said Alex Shapleigh, CallisonRTKL vice president and the lead designer on the project. “We are honored to have partnered with them on their newest flagship store in one of Washington, D.C.’s most storied buildings.”
The flagship will join eight other REI stores serving nearly 300,000 REI members living in and around the Washington, D.C. area. It is the retailer’s fifth flagship, joining locations in Seattle, Denver, Bloomington, Minn. and the SoHo area of New York City.
About CallisonRTKL: For more than five decades, Callison and RTKL have created some of the world’s most memorable and successful environments for developers, retailers, investors, institutions and public entities. In 2015, our two practices came together under the Arcadis umbrella, expanding our sphere of influence and the depth and breadth of our resources. Our team is comprised of more than 2,000 creative, innovative professionals throughout the world who are committed to advancing our clients’ businesses and enhancing quality of life.
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.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 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.