REI to Open Store in Issaquah

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), the national outdoor retail cooperative founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers, today announced plans to open a store in Issaquah, Wash. in the fall of 2007.
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The new 26,000 square-foot store will be located at an existing retail site at 735 N.W. Gilman Blvd. in the Commons at Issaquah shopping center and employ approximately 70 full- and part-time staff. With easy access from Interstate 90, the Issaquah location will be in close proximity to many popular recreation areas in Puget Sound for outdoor activities, such as camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, paddling and snow sports.

REI offers top brands for outdoor recreation, including the co-op's line of award-winning branded gear and clothing. The new store will also provide a gear rental department to encourage customers to try new outdoor activities, and clinic space for classes, presentations and events.

The store will join REI's five other Puget Sound locations, including Seattle, Redmond, Alderwood, Tacoma and Southcenter. Nearly 330,000 active co-op members call the region home. REI has eight stores in the state of Washington.

“Issaquah is a significant retail hub in the Seattle area and REI is pleased to have the opportunity to better serve our members and deepen our relationship with the community,” said Sally Jewell, REI president and CEO. “Issaquah also serves as a gateway to the outdoors for many of our members who enter the Mountains to Sound Greenway along I-90 and local roads to reach countless recreation areas that we are blessed to have close to our homes and workplaces.”

Known for its broad product offerings, knowledgeable employees and involvement in the communities in which it operates, REI also works to promote environmental stewardship through education, volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions. Earlier this year, the co-op provided a grant to the Issaquah Alps Trails Club for the construction in downtown Issaquah of a statue in memory of Harvey Manning, prominent conservationist and author of the 100 Hikes guidebook series. Manning also wrote REI: 50 Years of Climbing Together, which captured the rich history of the co-op's first five decades.

In addition, REI has partnered with the Washington Trails Association (WTA) and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to support preservation and enhancement efforts on numerous recreation sites near Issaquah. This year alone, REI has committed to support the WTA in training volunteer crew leaders, who will direct more than 750 work parties with the goal of leading 35,000 volunteer hours on Washington's hiking trails during the summer months. Last year, more than 70 new REI employees helped to maintain and protect the Grand Ridge Trail and Cougar Mountain.

“In 1991, with Harvey Manning and the Issaquah Alps Trails Club in the lead, people took up the huge challenge of trying to protect the existing forests along I-90 as the Mountains to Sound Greenway. REI was a founding member of the Greenway Trust Board and has supported this successful effort ever since,” said Nancy Keith, executive director of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. “Today, I-90 from Seattle to Central Washington is a National Scenic Byway protecting over 700,000 acres of recreation lands, wildlife habitat, historic sites and forests. REI has been a key partner in that and it feels like REI in Issaquah is almost a ‘coming home' to the Issaquah Alps where the Greenway started.”

While anyone may shop at REI, members pay a one-time $15 fee and receive a share in the company's profits through an annual member dividend based on their purchases. Earlier this year, the co-op returned $58 million to its members through the refund.

REI is an outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure. REI operates 90 stores in 26 states, two online stores – REI.com and REI-OUTLET.com – and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. For 10 consecutive years, REI has been recognized by FORTUNE magazine as one of “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” In 2007, the company ranked 27th overall and first among companies that encourage employees to balance work and personal lives. For information about employment opportunities with the co-op, visit www.rei.com/jobs.

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