REI To Open Virginia Beach Location

27,400-square-foot store will be the first in Hampton Roads

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

REI, the nation’s largest co-op and specialty outdoor retailer, will open its sixth store in Virginia and its first in Hampton Roads. REI, headquartered in Seattle, will open its doors at Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach in spring 2016. REI will hire approximately 50 employees for the new store.


The location is on the corner of Virginia Beach and Independence boulevards adjacent to Virginia Beach Town Center. At more than 27,400 square feet, the freestanding store will serve nearly 7,500 local REI members and the thriving regional outdoor community. The first REI in Virginia opened in 1990 in Bailey’s Crossroads in Northern Virginia. Today, the nearest REI is more than 100 miles away in Richmond’s Short Pump area. 


REI’s retail expansion is part of its strategy to serve a growing nationwide community of people who love life outside. Founded as a co-op in 1938, today REI has 5.6 million active members and 138 stores in 33 states. Anyone can shop with REI, but members pay a one-time $20 fee to receive a share in the company’s profits. REI membership also includes special promotions and discounts on trips with REI Adventures and REI Outdoor School classes and events.


The co-op shares the majority of its annual profits with its members, communities and employees. Last year, it returned more than $114 million to active members through an annual patronage refund. The company also granted $4.6 million to more than 300 local and national nonprofits to improve more than 600 outdoor places where its members and customers love to play.


The Virginia Beach location follows openings in the Christiana Fashion Center in Delaware and Mills Crossing in Iowa in 2015.


“We have wanted to open stores in Delaware and Iowa for years, so this is exciting, and we can’t wait to bring the REI experience closer to our members and customers in Virginia,” said Tim Spangler, senior vice president of retail. “At each store, we’ll work to engage, support and grow the outdoor community. The co-op is here to help everyone have fun living healthy, outdoor lives with great products and advice that gets you out there exploring.”


The stores will feature the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel. Each location will offer year-round REI Outdoor School classes and a bike shop for expert assembly and repairs. Watersports hard goods such as kayaks and stand-up paddle boards will be available year-round in Virginia.


As a national leader in outdoor education, REI Outdoor School’s expert instructors and professional guides taught more than 200,000 people across the country last year. Stores host free and low-cost in-store classes on cycling, paddling, fitness, hiking and camping, photography and wilderness medicine. Popular programs include bike maintenance basics, fitness monitor basics, gourmet camp cooking and the best places to play outside.


REI is the nation’s largest consumer co-op with a growing community of more than 5.6 million active members. REI has 138 outdoor specialty stores in 33 states. REI Adventures is a global leader in active adventure travel and runs 150 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI’s Outdoor School is run by professionally trained, expert instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits who create access to –and steward– the outdoor places that inspire us. For 17 consecutive years, REI has been recognized as one of FORTUNE magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. For more information, visit, or download the free REI shopping app.


The mission of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development is to attract and retain national and international businesses to stimulate capital investment and create jobs. Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia with a population of 440,000, and it is the 37th largest in the United States. It is recognized as one of the Best Run Cities in America by 24/7 Wall St. The Department of Economic Development received re-accreditation through the International Economic Development Council in 2012 and is one of only 29 economic development organizations in the world to have this recognition. It is listed among the Top Five Overall Mid-sized American Cities of the Future, Top 10 for Economic Potential and Top Five for Infrastructure by fDi magazine. ranked Virginia Beach as the Easiest Place to Start a Business and the 2nd Most Business-Friendly City in the country. For more information, visit