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Outdoor Retailer REI to Open Store in Santa Cruz This Fall

Store offers a professional bike shop and ski shop services

The Seattle-based outdoor recreation services corporation, REI, is aiming to open a new store at this former Toys “R” Us building in Santa Cruz. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

REI, an outdoor retail business with 168 stores in 39 states, plans to open a location in Santa Cruz, the company announced on Feb. 18.

The 22,622-square-foot store will be located at 1660 Commercial Way, the giant warehouse that formerly held Toys “R” Us. It is slated to open in Fall 2021. It will be REI’s 15th location in the Bay Area.

In addition to camping, climbing and other gear for outdoor activities, the store offers a professional bike shop and ski shop services.

“The Santa Cruz community is passionate about their outdoor places and REI is excited to bring a store to the area to connect with the community even more,” said Kirk Peterson, REI regional director of Northern California. “We have a lot of REI members that live or recreate around Santa Cruz, and this new location will be a hub to provide resources, expertise and gear for residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors.”

According to REI spokeswoman Courtney Rose, REI has invested millions of dollars into the Northern California community to support its local land agency and nonprofit partners that serve the community in getting people outside. 

In the last five years, the company invested more than $3.4 million in local outdoor nonprofits in the region, with over $125,000 directly benefiting the Santa Cruz community, Rose said.

This includes support for local nonprofits like Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, Ecology Action and Sempervirens Fund.

REI’s Santa Cruz location will also offer a range of virtual classes, workshops, and guided outdoor experiences. These year-round offerings will include kayaking lessons, bicycling lessons and backcountry navigation with a map and compass. 

The community can expect popular day trips such as REI’s Bike N Brews Tour. 

“REI has helped over 110,000 people connect to the outdoors in Northern California through its guided outdoor experiences, classes, events and trips in the last five years,” Rose said.

REI expects to hire nearly 50 employees for the Santa Cruz location. People can apply online at REI.jobs.

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. It is considered the nation’s largest consumer co-op.

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