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03/13/2023

REI to expand in Florida

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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REI
REI has 181 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

REI Co-op is expanding its footprint in the Sunshine State.

The specialty outdoor retailer will open a store at University Town Center in Sarasota, Fla., in fall 2023.

The 25,000-sq.-ft. location will offer a wide assortment of apparel, gear and expertise for camping, cycling, running, fitness, hiking, paddling, climbing and more. It will also feature a service bike shop staffed by certified mechanics.

The Sarasota location will be REI’s eighth store in Florida.  Other REI locations scheduled to open this year include a 21,000-sq.-ft. store at Huntington Shopping Center, Huntington, N.Y., and a 33,000-sq.-ft. outpost at Oakbrook Village in Laguna Hills, Calif., opening in the summer and fall, respectively.

"Ten years ago, we opened our first store in Florida with a Jacksonville location,” said Les Hatton, REI regional director. “We've long recognized the opportunity to better serve our customers who live and play in the Sarasota area, as they have been driving an hour to our Tampa store.”

In addition to Tampa, REI’s other Florida locations include Winter Park, Palm Beach Gardens, Gainesville, Boca Raton, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee.

REI has invested millions of dollars in local nonprofits to steward trails, waterways and parks and connect people to the outdoors. During the last five years, Florida land agencies and nonprofit partners have received more than $450,000.

Last year, $102,500 was distributed to 15 nonprofits across the state, including Alafia State Park, Florida State Parks Foundation and Florida Trail Association.

Complementing REI's community investments, REI's Cooperative Action Fund invests in nonprofits to build a more equitable and inclusive outdoor community. Florida recipients include Adaptive Adventures (Tampa and Miami), Black Girls RUN! Foundation chapters throughout the state, and HBCUs Outside (Tallahassee).

Union Drive

Earlier this month, workers at an REI store in Cleveland voted 27-12 in favor of unionizing. The Ohio vote marked the third union victory at an REI outpost during the past year, following votes in New York City and Berkeley, Calif.

“REI believes in the right of every eligible employee to vote for or against union representation,” the company said in a statement following the vote.” We fully supported our Cleveland employees through the vote process and we will continue to support our employees going forward as they begin to navigate the collective bargaining process.