REI to open second prototype store
Recreational Equipment Inc (REI), a national retail cooperative providing quality outdoor gear and clothing, announced that Round Rock, Texas will be the second location for the company's prototype store initiative that aims to test retail design and green building concepts. Expected to open in the fall of 2008, the new store will complement the co-op's commitment to community involvement, environmental stewardship and providing a gateway to the outdoors.
The two-story, 32,700 square-foot store at University Oaks Shopping Center follows REI's first prototype location in Boulder, Colo., which opened in October 2007. For the store's design, the co-op has again partnered with Gensler, a leading global design, planning and strategic consulting firm.
Round Rock is the second REI store to be built using the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Retail rating system, which is currently in pilot. It also joins six other Texas REI locations, including two stores in Austin.
“Our increased focus on green buildings and the community began with our Seattle flagship store in 1996. Since then, we've continued to develop stores that represent our dedication to the outdoors by reducing the environmental impacts of such buildings and helping to inspire outdoor recreation,” said Brian Unmacht, REI's senior vice president of sales, store development and logistics.
“Boulder helped bring our commitment to the next level, representing a new REI standard for sustainability. Round Rock will build upon that even further, continuing our efforts to better align our stores with the co-op's overall mission.”
As part of its commitment to the outdoors, the store will feature a mezzanine level devoted to the local community. This space is intended to help connect co-op members and customers to resources for regional recreational opportunities, outdoor and conservation clubs and non-profit organizations, and service projects to help protect local natural spaces.
To lessen the building's carbon footprint, several of the planned green building features include the use of natural lighting and energy efficient systems, solar hot water, sustainable materials and water reduction measures.
“We've received positive feedback from the Boulder community thus far and are eager to incorporate the insights from our experience into the new store in Round Rock,” said Doug Ludlow, REI's senior project manager of store development. “While our first prototype store was a remodeled and expanded one-story space, Round Rock provides us the opportunity to experience the process of opening a two-story location in a new community from the ground up.”
REI first announced its prototype initiative in May 2006 to help the company determine where it can enhance the store experience for both employees and customers, lessen its environmental footprint, make more sustainable business decisions and better align its stores with the values of the co-op.