For the first time in its 81-year history, REI Co-op will opened four new stores in a single day. On November 15, the retailer simultaneously opened stores in Farmington, UT; Huntsville, AL; Oklahoma City, OK; and Williston, VT. By the end of the year, REI will have opened a total of eight new stores, relocated two existing stores to larger locations, and opened three new boathouses in 2019.
“Our business has never been just about selling stuff,” said Tim Spangler, REI senior vice president of retail. “Our bigger goal is to share our love of the outdoors and, in doing so, awaken that love in others. By continuing to grow in new communities and new regions of the country, we look forward to welcoming more people to the co-op and connecting them to the activities they love.”
While anyone may shop at REI, members pay $20 for a lifetime membership and share in the company’s profits through an annual dividend. In addition, REI annually invests 70% of its profits in the outdoor community through member dividends, employee retirement contributions and investments in nonprofits. In 2018, REI invested $8.4 million in 431 nonprofits across the country.
In addition to continuing to expand its brick-and-mortar locations, this year REI also grew its rental and used gear business and debuted a new in-store experience in North Conway, NH that combines retail, experiences and rentals. Over the last five years, REI has seen more than 27% growth in membership and 25% growth in revenue – much of that growth continuing to come from brick-and-mortar retail.
To celebrate its four new stores, REI hosted local grand opening events with free public activities and giveaways. At each location, the first 250 people through the doors on Friday, Saturday and Sunday received a limited-edition water bottle with a $10, $50 or $100 REI gift card inside.