SEATTLE, Dec. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Adventurers in Central Ohio can gear up with the best outdoor products with a second REI store opening next year in Columbus, Ohio. The 23,000 square-foot location will open next fall at Sun Center.
The store will join a previously announced 23,400 square-foot REI location at Easton Gateway, opening in the spring. Both stores will offer the top brands of outdoor gear and apparel, in addition to expert assembly and repair services through a bike shop. Known for its leadership in outdoor education, REI will also host free outdoor classes. The retailer opened its first Ohio store in Cincinnati in 2012.
"Columbus is a city filled with active people and one of the largest markets without an REI store," said Ray Dinterman, REI retail director for the Mid-Atlantic district. "Two stores allow us to better serve the many local adventurers looking to have fun in the outdoors, including the more than 5,100 REI members in the area."
REI is the nation's largest consumer cooperative with 5.1 million active members and 132 stores. Anyone may shop with REI, but members pay a one-time $20 fee to receive a share in the company's profits through an annual member refund. REI membership also includes special promotions, and discounts on REI Adventures trips and REI Outdoor School classes.
With two locations in Columbus, REI will hire approximately 100 employees locally next year. The retailer is currently accepting applications for its Easton Gateway store and will begin interviews early next year. Interested candidates for the store at Sun Center can sign up online to be notified when REI begins accepting applications.
Employees receive generous product and service discounts, competitive pay and retirement contributions. The retailer has been recognized as one of FORTUNE magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" for 16 consecutive years. REI is ranked 17 on the 2013 list.
REI partners with nonprofit organizations in each of its communities that offer volunteer programs to restore well-known trails, parks and waterways. In Columbus, the retailer recently granted a total of $20,000 to Central Ohio Mountain Biking Organization, Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed and Metro Park-Central Ohio Park System to help maintain outdoor places in Central Ohio. These partnerships support REI's mission to inspire, educate and outfit its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.
REI is a $2 billion national multichannel retail co-op headquartered outside of Seattle. With more than 5 million active members, REI serves the needs of outdoor adventurers through innovative, quality products; inspiring classes and trips; and integrated customer service that allows shoppers to buy great gear and clothing in any way they want. REI has 132 stores in 33 states, as well as REI.com and REI.com/outlet. This year REI will invest $3 million in local communities to help care for outdoor spaces.