REI Opens D.C. Flagship

REI Opens D.C. Flagship

REI, an outdoor co-op, opened its fifth flagship store in Washington, D.C. REI ran 100 days of outdoor events this summer in D.C. under the banner “United Outside” to bring people together across the political spectrum.

The effort culminates this weekend with a block party to celebrate the opening of the 51,000-square-foot store in the NOMA neighborhood, a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The co-op hopes the store will offer the D.C. outdoor community a spot to reconnect and discover outdoor gear.

“Opening this incredible store in Washington, D.C. in a contentious election year has been fun, if a little challenging, given all the noise around the election. It’s important to get past all that, though, and we’ve been working to show that the outdoors brings people together,” said Jerry Stritzke, CEO and president of REI.

The REI D.C. Flagship includes:

  • A café for customers
  • An Adventure Station offered in partnership with the National Park Service and REI outdoor experts
  • An outdoor courtyard at the store’s core.
  • Bike, ski and snowboard shop
  • A community space with a schedule of free and low-cost, in-store classes for cycling, paddling, fitness, hiking and camping, climbing, snow sports, photography and wilderness medicine
  • A collection of gear shops.

“The flagship’s design represents a whole new approach to how REI thinks about the customer experience, presenting the co-op, our services and experience at their best,” said Rebecca Smith, general manager of the D.C. Flagship.

The co-op offered Outdoor School classes throughout the region and events at the Wunder Garten outdoor space for more than a year, reaching more than 75,000 people. So far this year, REI has educated nearly 16,000 participants, and more than 60,000 people joined through 100 days of United Outside events. This includes nearly 42,000 people who participated in REI’s D.C. Free Weekend, where the co-op partnered with Capital Bikeshare, Key Bridge Boathouse and the National Park Service for free outdoor activities in June.

The co-op invested more than $1 million in local and national nonprofits throughout the region this year to shape outdoor places for the future. This includes:

  • Investing $240,000 in 14 local nonprofits, including Rock Creek Conservancy and the Shenandoah National Park Trust
  • Granting an additional $100,000 in five nonprofits, including C&O Canal Trust, Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), Anacostia Watershed Society and the Outdoor Foundation.
  • Committing a total of $500,000 to WABA over the next three years to support a connected bike system.
  • Supporting national nonprofit organizations based in D.C., including IMBA and National Park Foundation.

The co-op worked closely with its partners Douglas Development, CallisonRTKL and Davis Construction to honor the history of the retail space through design and construction. The building, formally known as the Washington Coliseum and Uline Arena, opened in 1941.

“CallisonRTKL has had a long relationship with REI developing their next generation retail concepts, including their flagship in SoHo,” said Alex Shapleigh, CallisonRTKL vice president and the lead designer on the project. “We are honored to have partnered with them on their newest flagship store in one of Washington, D.C.’s most storied buildings.”

The flagship will join eight other REI stores in and around the Washington, D.C. area. It is the retailer’s fifth flagship, along with locations in Seattle, Denver, Bloomington, MN and the SoHo area of New York City.

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer headquartered near Seattle.