Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Outdoor retailer REI sets mid-November opening at UTC


REI Co-op announced earlier that year that it planned to open a store in the UTC area.
REI Co-op announced earlier that year that it planned to open a store in the UTC area.
Photo by Mark Gordon
  • East County
  • Business
  • Share

Popular national specialty outdoor retailer REI Co-op has set an opening date — Nov. 10 — for its first Sarasota-Bradenton location.

The 25,000-square-foot store is at 161 N. Cattleman Road, in the West District at University Town Center, just off the University Parkway exit of Interstate 75. It’s between DSW and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Seattle-based REI has Florida locations in Tampa, Winter Park, Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, Jacksonville and Tallahassee; the Tampa location in the Midtown development opened in 2021.

REI officials, in an email, say the company’s “grand openings are quite the celebration. It is not uncommon for 200+ people to be in line when we open, including the occasional longtime REI member who camps overnight or arrives in the early hours to hold the honor of first in line.”

Those devoted REI fans will be in for a three-day celebration, the company says, including outdoor brands, nonprofit partners, an afternoon social and more.  

During the grand opening celebration REI’s doors will open at 10 a.m. Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. Giveaways will be available while supplies last. Community members who join the morning festivities will enjoy free coffee and receive an exclusive camp mug with a donation to Friends of the Myakka River.

An outdoor social will be hosted every afternoon from 1-5 p.m. with music, nonprofits and outdoor brands, the release states. Outdoor brands will include Black Diamond Equipment, Cotopaxi, Darn Tough, ENO Hammocks, Gregory Mountain Products, Hydro Flask, Mountain House, Nikwax, Nuun Hydration, Osprey, Saucony, Sea to Summit and Smartwool. 

The UTC REI store, the release states, features a wide assortment of outdoor gear and apparel for camping, hiking, cycling, running, fitness, paddling and more. A specialty bike shop will be staffed with certified mechanics to tune or repair equipment.

"Sarasota has a passionate outdoor community that we look forward to serving. We are also inspired by the opportunity to connect with local partners to welcome everyone to enjoy our outdoor spaces,” REI Sarasota store manager Lisa Hofmeister says in the release. “Whether biking on the Legacy Trail, paddling at Myakka River State Park, or simply taking a walk along one of our many beautiful beaches, our Sarasota team is ready to outfit our guests with the gear and experiences they need to enjoy their adventures."

REI has 185 locations in 42 states and Washington, D.C. It’s also a consumer co-op, with more than 114,000 members in the Tampa-St. Petersburg and 512,000 members in Florida.

This article originally appeared on sister site BusinessObserverFL.com.