REI to open second prototype store

September 24, 2008 - United States Of America

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.

The company will analyze the Boulder and Round Rock locations extensively prior to opening a third prototype store currently targeted for 2010. Findings from these stores will help REI make decisions on how it approaches store design and construction in the future.

For the construction of all new REI buildings, the company uses the LEED point system to measure success, looking to meet or exceed LEED standards whenever possible. In 2004, REI’s Portland, Ore. location became the first retail store in the country to earn a LEED Gold rating for Commercial Interiors, followed by REI’s Pittsburgh store with LEED Silver for Commercial Interiors in 2006.

REI Boulder is anticipating a LEED Silver rating for the Retail – Commercial Interiors pilot program. The company’s second distribution center, which opened in November 2007 in Bedford, Pa., was built to achieve Silver under LEED for New Construction.

Information on REI’s comprehensive environmental initiatives is available at, including its focus on carbon footprint reduction, green building design and construction, responsible paper purchases and usage, waste reduction, and the design and manufacturing of more sustainable products and packaging. In April 2008, the co-op will release its second annual stewardship report, a review of the company’s social and environmental impacts.