SEATTLE, Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Outdoor adventurers throughout Western New York State and Central Florida can visit new REI stores at CityGate in Rochester, N.Y., in the fall of 2016 and Winter Park Village in Winter Park, Fla., in the spring of 2017. With the store openings, REI, a national specialty outdoor retailer and the nation's largest consumer co-op, will expand its investments in local nonprofit partners to make outdoor places more accessible to both communities.
The new stores will feature the top brands of outdoor gear and apparel for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, travel and paddling, and the stores' bike shops will provide cyclists with expert assembly and repair services. The stores will also offer expert advice from in-store guides and classes through REI Outdoor School.
"We are thrilled to be able to better serve our members and partner with the outdoor communities in Rochester and Winter Park," said Greg Medlyn, REI's divisional vice president of Retail. "From the Finger Lakes to the Chain of Lakes, Rochester and Winter Park are two communities with a passion for a life outdoors and we look forward to helping local adventurers get outside."
REI Rochester will be located at CityGate on the north side of the Erie Canal in the heart of the city's university and hospital district. With the Finger Lakes and several ski resorts nearby, the 27,000 square foot store will carry gear for snow and water sports, in addition to the co-op's traditional assortment. REI Rochester will serve nearly 3,000 active members in the region who currently visit the nearest store in Pittsburgh, more than 280 miles away.
REI Winter Park will be the second co-op location in Florida after REI Jacksonville opened in 2013. At 25,000 square feet, the new store will help outfit and educate nearly 9,000 active members for a variety of local outdoor adventures from biking the Cady Way Trail to paddling the many local lakes.
Access to Outdoor Places
With the opening of each new store, REI deepens its support of the local outdoor community. Last year, the co-op invested $125,000 in 10 organizations throughout New York to conserve and increase access to open spaces. In Florida, REI invested $20,000 in four nonprofit partners in 2015, which included improving signage and campsites along the Florida National Scenic Trail in partnership with the Florida Trail Association. REI invested a total of $5.9 million in over 300 nonprofits across the country last year to increase access to more than 1,000 outdoor places.
Learn a New Activity
Whether you are a novice or seasoned adventurer, anyone can learn with REI Outdoor School. As a national leader in outdoor education, REI Outdoor School's expert instructors taught over 250,000 people across the country last year. The Rochester and Winter Park locations will host free and low-cost, in-store classes and events on cycling, paddling, fitness, hiking and camping, photography, wilderness medicine and more.
Join the REI Team
Candidates interested in joining the REI team at any local store can apply online at REI.com. The co-op expects to hire 50 employees for each of the new stores, who receive a variety of benefits, including generous product and service discounts, competitive pay and retirement contributions. For 18 consecutive years, REI has been recognized as one of FORTUNE magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For."
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation's largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 5.5 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 143 stores in 35 states. If you can't visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI.com/outlet or the free REI shopping app. REI isn't just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs 150 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI's Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to–and steward–the outdoor places that inspire us.