Recreational Equipment Inc. opened a store at 840 Brannan Street in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. The 37,000 square-foot store is REI's first in San Francisco and eighth in the Bay Area.

The Bay Area is currently REI's number one market in terms of sales. With over 16,000 members living in San Francisco, the company hopes the opening will ease congestion at its popular Berkeley store.

“Our members and customers have been asking us to open a San Francisco store for years,” said REI San Francisco Store Manager, Annette Pape. “San Franciscans have always embraced the outdoors, with opportunities to bike, hike, camp, paddle and ski all within three hours of the city. The new REI store can quickly and conveniently provide them with the proper gear and apparel to support their outdoor interests.”

The Grand Opening will begin at 9:45 a.m., Friday, Oct. 3, with a webbing cutting ceremony led by world-renowned mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind climber to reach the peak of Mt. Everest and climb all Seven Summits. Following the ceremony, he will do a book signing for his best selling book, “Touch the Top of the World.”

To show support for the environment and to alleviate traffic congestion during grand opening weekend, REI encourages customers to ride their bikes to the store. REI and the San Francisco Bike Coalition will offer complimentary “bike valet” services in front of the store Oct. 3 – 5. Additionally, the first 500 customers who arrive on bikes will receive a free bike pump and are entered into a drawing for a Yakima car rack.