REI to Outfit Outdoor Enthusiasts with New Store in Columbia, Md. this Fall

Jun 22, 2010

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), a retail co-op providing quality outdoor gear and clothing, today announced plans to open a new store at Columbia Crossing in Columbia, Md. this fall.

The 24,000 square-foot store will equip customers and members with gear and apparel from the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel, including the award-winning REI brand and Novara bike products. The new store will feature a bike shop for quick assemblies or repairs, a gear rental department to explore new activities , and a community space for the co-op and its non-profit partners to host outdoor-related classes, events and presentations.

“REI is committed to increasing the number of people recreating in the outdoors, and we are excited to expand our resources in the Baltimore and DC areas,” said Anne Maleady, REI retail director for the Northeast district. “A new store in Columbia will allow us to better outfit cycling, paddling, camping and general outdoor enthusiasts in the area, and hopefully inspire others to adopt an outdoor lifestyle.”

The company supports local organizations dedicated to conserving natural resources or increasing outdoor access through education, volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions. In the past year, REI has granted more than $90,000 to 11 outdoor and conservation non-profits in the Baltimore and DC areas, including the Alice Ferguson Foundation, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts. The new store will expand upon these efforts by partnering with local organizations to coordinate outdoor classes and events, and volunteer opportunities.

REI currently operates 112 retail stores nationwide, including three other locations in Maryland in College Park, Rockville and Timonium. In addition to the Columbia store opening, the company will open a store in Norwalk, Conn. this fall.

Hiring for Columbia will occur approximately three months prior to the store’s opening, when REI will recruit 40 to 50 employees who share a passion for the outdoors and quality customer service. Once hired, each new team member will take part in REI’s comprehensive sales and product training program, deepening their ability to be a knowledgeable outdoor resource for customers and the community. More information about employment opportunities will be available at rei.jobs.

While anyone may shop at REI, members pay a one-time $20 fee and receive a share in REI’s profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases. Earlier this year, more than $80 million was distributed to more than 3.9 million active members based on the co-op’s 2009 sales. Members also receive discounts on gear rentals, trips offered through REI Adventures and local REI Outdoor School classes, in addition to free standard shipping on their purchases of $75 or more through REI.com, REI-OUTLET.com and phone direct sales orders.

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.