REI Co-op announced plans to open a retail store in fall 2022 in Athens, representing its sixth store in Georgia.
“We’ve proudly had a presence in Georgia for more than 30 years through our first store in Atlanta. REI Athens will be our sixth location in the state, allowing us to serve our members and outdoor community more broadly as well as support nonprofit partners,” said Becky Smith, REI retail regional director. “We look forward to being a resource in Athens, whether introducing residents and visitors to new activities or supporting their love of cycling, hiking, camping, running, and more.”
REI is the largest consumer co-op in the U.S. with 20 million members. REI partners with nonprofits in the U.S. that steward public lands and connect people to the outdoors. Since 2002, the co-op has “invested $1.5 million in Georgia land agencies and nonprofit partners,” said the retailer. This year, “$100,000 was directed to seven organizations including Catalyst Sports, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, Greening Youth Foundation, Peachtree Creek Greenway, Refugee Women’s Network, and Roswell Alpharetta Mountain Bike Organization,” said REI.
Over the last five years, REI has helped “over 27,000 people connect to the outdoors in Atlanta and beyond through its guided experiences and events.” Its popular destination in the area includes Fort Yargo State Park where the co-op hosts day, sunset and family kayaking tours.
REI said it expects to “hire approximately 50 employees” for its Athens store location.
The store, at 17,200 square feet, is located in the Beechwood Shopping Center at 196 Alps Road, Athens, GA. The location will include a full-service bike shop, buy online/pick up in-store, curbside pickup, and virtual outfitting. Its other retail locations in Georgia include Alpharetta, opened 2015; Atlanta, opened 1990; Buford, opened 2003; Kennesaw, opened 2008; and and Perimeter, opened 1995.