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REI Co-op to open its first experience center in North Conway, New Hampshire in fall 2019

Published December 20, 2018

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Co-op's new first-of-its-kind location will be a hub for outdoor gear and experiences in the White Mountains

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SEATTLE – REI Co-op is opening its first location in New Hampshire, bringing quality outdoor gear, expertise and experiences for the region's most popular activities in North Conway and the surrounding region. In addition to being the first store in-state, the nearly 25,000 square-foot space at Settlers Crossing will also be the co-op's first-ever outdoor experience center, offering expansive gear rentals, high-end equipment demos and guided outdoor experiences for the millions of visitors that adventure in the region every year.

"As the gateway to the White Mountains, North Conway is the perfect community to unveil the co-op's newest retail format, which will focus on outdoor experiences," said Rachel Ligtenberg, REI vice president of retail. "We are continuing to shape this new store format, with the goal of becoming the one-stop shop for every kind of adventurer. From the seasoned expert who owns their own gear, to the family looking to spend the day trying something new, REI North Conway will be a launching pad for outdoor activities in the White Mountains."

While the store in North Conway will be the co-op's first location in the state, REI has nearly 53,000 members in New Hampshire and currently offers guided multi-day and day outdoor trips in the White Mountains. 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."

In addition to providing quality outdoor gear, REI North Conway will offer workshops, classes, and guided day trips to connect people to outdoor experiences in the White Mountains. A national leader in outdoor experiences, REI helped more than 375,000 people across the country get outside through classes, day outings and events last year. REI Adventures, REI's active adventure travel company, has been operating trips in the White Mountains for over 10 years and currently offers five options in the region – Mount Washington Winter Climb, Ice Climbing Basics, New Hampshire Snowshoeing, Hut-to-Hut Hiking - Presidential Peaks, and Hut-to-Hut Hiking – Pemigewasset Wilderness.

REI is a member-owned co-op, offering top-quality gear, expertise and experiences to connect people to a life outdoors. While anyone may shop at REI, members pay a lifetime $20 membership and share in the company's profits through an annual dividend. In addition, 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.

"REI products and experiences contribute to an outdoor experience in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that our community and our visitors will appreciate," said Dot Seybold, OVP Management, Inc. general manager. "The dedication to the brand by its customers is legendary and we believe REI will contribute greatly to the outdoor community in North Conway."

REI North Conway will join eight other REI stores in New England, including four in Massachusetts, three in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island.

Join the REI team
Candidates interested in joining the REI team at any local store can apply online at REI.com/jobs. In 2019, REI expects to hire 55 employees at the new store in North Conway. New employees will receive a variety of benefits, including generous product and service discounts, competitive pay, and retirement contributions. For 21 consecutive years, REI has been recognized as one of Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For."

Store facts
Address: 1498 White Mountain Highway, C-30
Square footage: 24,779 square feet; includes 18,750 square-foot storefront and adjacent 6,029 square-foot space
Special offerings: Equipment rentals, guided outdoor experiences
Open date: September 2019
Membership: Nearly 53,000 in New Hampshire

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