It was another active summer in outdoor real estate moves with retailers and manufacturers expanding and announcing new locations.
As interest rates rise, expect to see a final flurry of deals driven by those sitting on the fence before the holidays, but beyond that, it will be up to an improving business landscape to spur growth in 2014. Here are few highlights from the summer:
>> REI will increase its footprint to 132 locations nationwide this fall with new store openings in Tysons, Va. (Aug. 23); Overland Park, Kan. (Sept. 27); and Silverdale, Wash. (Oct. 4). It also recently announced new stores planned for Flagstaff, Ariz. and Columbus, Ohio in spring 2014 and Knoxville, Tenn. in fall 2014. All three stores will offer an assortment of outdoor gear, including camping, climbing, hiking, travel and fitness, along with a bike shop and cycling gear. The 23,550 square-foot Flagstaff store will be located at Aspen Place at the Sawmill at the corner of Lone Tree Road and Butler Avenue. The 23,400-square-foot Columbus store will open in Easton Gateway at the corner of Stelzer Road and Morse Road. That location also will feature a wide assortment of gear and apparel for boating enthusiasts. The 23,500-square-foot Knoxville store will be located at the northeast corner of Papermill Drive and Kingston Pike Road.
>> In Tucson, Ariz., local specialty outdoor retailer Summit Hut moved its Wetmore store to a new location six miles away at 7745 N. Oracle Road in Oro Valley on July 1. Beyond the improved location, the new 10,600-square-foot space allowed the store to update its interior and layout, said co-owner Jeremy Davis. Summit Hut’s second store in Speedway will remain at 5045 E. Speedway Blvd.
>> Branded outdoor stores continue to flourish, including New Zealand-based Icebreaker opening a new location in Toronto, Canada with plans this fall to open stores in Bethesda, Md. (September) and Chicago (October). That would bring its total North American presence to 11 stores. The latest announced Chicago location will measure 2,225 square feet at 44 East Walton Street in Chicago's popular Gold Coast/Magnificent Mile shopping area, nearby other outdoor and active branded stores such as Burton, Lululemon and Patagonia.
>> Keen also is expanding with branded stores, opening its second U.S. location in Palo Alto, Calif. in June. Located at 278 University Ave., the 2,800 square-foot “Keen Garage” houses more than 300 styles of the company’s footwear, bags and socks. Much of the store was designed with repurposed materials saved from scrap or the landfill, including wood from docks in Alameda, Calif., the hoods from eight Volkswagen Bugs, and lockers from an old Woolworths store. The company’s other U.S. store is located in its hometown of Portland, Ore. and it has two international locations in Toronto and Tokyo.
>> Travel and commuter-bag brand Overland Equipment entered the retail scene earlier this summer with the opening of first branded store in Portland, Ore. The location at 926 NW 13th Ave., Suite 160, is situated in the Pearl District.
>> Outdoor brands also were increasing the size their headquarters and manufacturing facilities this summer. Lodge Manufacturing announced plans to expand its cast iron cookware foundry in South Pittsburg, Tenn. to meet increased demand. The expansion will include the replacement of the company’s melt center, the addition of a sand system and a new molding machine. Officials expect the entire expansion to be complete by the end of 2014, with the melt center in operation late this year. The expansion is expected to increase Lodge’s workforce by 20-25 people.
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