REI Co-op to open its first experience center at Settlers Crossing

December 20, 2018 (North Conway, NH) – Outdoor retailer REI Co-op will be opening its first New Hampshire location at Settlers Crossing in September 2019. The store will occupy nearly 25,000 square feet and will be REI’s first-ever outdoor experience center, offering expansive gear rentals, high-end equipment demos and guided outdoor experiences. It will be the largest outdoor retail store in the Settlers properties, which include LL Bean Outlet, Columbia Sportswear, Regatta Great Outdoors, Eddie Bauer, and Timberland.

REI is a member-owned co-op, offering top quality outdoor gear, expertise and experiences. While anyone may shop at REI, members pay a lifetime $20 membership and share in the company’s profits through an annual dividend. REI has nearly 53,000 members in New Hampshire and currently offers guided multi-day and day outdoor trips in the White Mountains.

“REI products and outdoor programs contribute to an outdoor experience in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that our community and our visitors will appreciate,” stated OVP Management, Inc. General Manager Dot Seybold. “The dedication to the brand by its customers is legendary, and the location and its features will be a great example of modern retail.”

REI continues to grow because of its ability to stay ahead of modern retail trends. REI’s omni-channel experiences, meaning the experience shopping online, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar location is seamless, has helped it successfully stand out in the evolving retail landscape. Additionally, REI has fostered brand advocacy through user-generated content that makes the brand more relatable to the customer in a personal and authentic way. It has united its members and followers under the social media hashtag #OptOutside, which has nearly 11 million tags on Instagram alone.

“The retail landscape is challenging, and REI is succeeding because of the company’s ability to make the shopping experience simple and personal,” said Laura Lemieux, assistant director of marketing for OVP Management, Inc. “From shoppers’ ability to see real-time inventory while shopping online then picking it up in store, to capturing and sharing photos from their outdoor experiences with their purchased products, it is these experiences that create brand loyalty for today’s consumers.”

Added Seybold, “The retail industry’s current quest is to become a place to be, which is complementary to how we view our shopping center with the addition of public art, dining, local retail and special events. REI will make a huge impact on our community and we expect the physical location at Settlers Crossing to ‘wow’ everyone with its ability to meet consumer needs, support local movements, all while servicing visitors to get outside.”

REI actively works with nonprofits across the country to protect wild places and invest in spaces for outdoor recreation. The co-op annually gives 70 percent of its profits back to the outdoor community, and in 2018 invested $8.8 million in more than 400 nonprofit organizations across the country. In addition, REI has supported trail work in the White Mountains National Forest. Through a grant provided to the National Forest Foundation, REI helped fund trail improvements in 2018 along The Crawford Path, the oldest, continuously-used mountain trail in the United States. Prior to store opening, the co-op will look for additional ways to invest in New Hampshire’s outdoor community.

“The White Mountains are New England’s outdoor playground with year-round activities like skiing, hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing,” said Becky Smith, REI retail director for the Northeast district. “We look forward to providing our customers throughout New England with the gear and expertise they need to get outside, while also investing in the outdoor spaces that make the White Mountains special.”

For 21 consecutive years, REI has been recognized as one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Candidates interested in joining the REI team at any local store can apply online at REI.com/jobs.

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