View from the parking lot of REI Outdoor storefront

Outdoor Outfitter REI opening at Easton Gateway May 9

April 4th, 2014

Tim Feran, The Columbus Dispatch
April 03, 2014

Outdoor outfitter REI will open its first store in Columbus on May 9 at Easton Gateway, with grand opening events scheduled to begin on May 16.

But the Seattle-based outdoor-gear retailer will make its presence felt long before the opening, when REI’s new Columbus employees pitch in from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 6 to clean up Sharon Woods Metro Park and remove invasive plant species, such as bush honeysuckle.

Park naturalist Allison Shaw will lead the group of volunteers.

Volunteerism is a big part of REI’s story, with the company often joining with nonprofit organizations to support its mission “to inspire, educate and outfit its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship,” the company said. REI is one of the nation’s largest consumer cooperatives, with 5.1 million active members and 132 stores. Members pay a one-time $20 fee to receive a share in the company’s profits, but anyone can shop there.

Locally, REI already has granted a total of $20,000 to the Metro Park-Central Ohio Park System, Central Ohio Mountain Biking Organization and Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed to help maintain outdoor places.

After REI opens its store in Easton Gateway, the 54-acre addition to Easton Town Center and Easton Market, the company will open a second store in the Columbus area in the fall — at Sun Center on W. Dublin-Granville Road on the Northwest Side.

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