REI Co-op is set to open new stores in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Appleton, Wis., in September. The openings will mark REI’s fifth location in Tennessee and third in Wisconsin.
REI Pigeon Forge will feature the co-op’s newest retail format offering a variety of gear rentals, zero contact bike shop services for maintenance and repairs and Buy Online Pickup In-Store capabilities. The new 21,500-square-foot store was originally scheduled to open in the spring but was delayed due to COVID-19. REI Pigeon Forge marks the co-op’s fifth location in the state and will serve the co-op’s nearly 250,000-lifetime members in Tennessee and the millions of visitors that adventure in the region every year.
“With proximity to the most visited national park in the country, Pigeon Forge is an exciting and unique location that will allow us to connect our members to the outdoors,” said Matt Wheat, REI Pigeon Forge store manager. “Whether you’re someone with years of experience who needs a piece of technical equipment, or a first-time camper looking to rent gear, our goal is to help every adventurer in the Great Smokies get outside.”
REI plans to invest $5,000 each in two local nonprofits: Discover Life in America and Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. REI has been part of the Tennessee outdoor community for more than 20 years, opening its first store in Brentwood in 1999. In 2019, REI invested $98,000 in local outdoor nonprofits in Tennessee. Each year, REI invests millions in nonprofits across the country that steward and maintain local trails, parks and public lands and connect people to the outdoors.
With nearly 300,000 lifetime members in the Wisconsin, REI Appleton will join the co-op’s existing Wisconsin locations in Brookfield and Madison.
“Appleton is an incredible community, and we’re thrilled to finally open our doors and connect our members to the many outdoor spaces in the region,” said Gary Kim, REI Appleton store manager. “Whether our members are enjoying their favorite activity or want to try something new for the first time, we’ll have the gear they need to get outside.”
REI plans to invest $10,000 in local outdoor nonprofits, with grant recipients to be announced at a later date. REI has been part of the Wisconsin outdoor community for over 25 years first opening its Madison store in 1994. In 2019, REI invested more than $36,000 in local outdoor nonprofits in Wisconsin.
In lieu of in-person grand opening events or giveaways at both stores, the community is invited to celebrate the store virtually.