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 www.rei.com/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.
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.