REI will open its first store in southern Utah

Specialty outdoor-recreation retailer coming to St. George in 2025

(Elaine Thompson | AP Photo) A shopper looks at hiking boots during a sale in REI Co-op's flagship store in Seattle in 2018.

St. George • REI Co-op, one of the nation’s premier outdoor recreation retailers, is coming to southern Utah.

The retailing giant, which is based near Seattle, has announced plans to open its first southern Utah location at St. George Place in St. George sometime in 2025. REI already has three northern Utah stores in Salt Lake City, Sandy and Farmington.

St. George Mayor Michele Randall said REI will be a great addition to the city.

“We were very pleased to hear that REI plans to open a store here in St. George in 2025, which I know will be very popular with residents and visitors,” she said. " This is going to be a great addition to our retail footprint on the south end of Bluff Street.”

St. George Council member Dannielle Larkin, an avid runner and cyclist, concurs with the mayor’s assessment.

“REI is a proven retailer that we are excited wants to participate in and bolster the economy in St. George,” Larkin said. “We look forward to them joining the many local shops that provide services and products to our residents and wish them all success.”

Once it opens, the St. George REI is expected to employ 50 people and offer outdoor clothing, gear and expertise for camping, cycling, running, fitness, hiking and climbing, among other things. In addition, a full-service bike shop will be staffed with technicians. The St. George store will also feature a ski and snowboard shop, according to REI officials.

REI’s St. George location is part of its expansion plan to add 10 new stores over the next two years. Seven new stores are slated to open in Rancho Mirage, Calif.; Durango, Colo.; Glendale, Ariz.; Beaverton, Ore; Tulsa, Okla.; Beavercreek, Ohio; and Albany, N.Y. The location of the other three stores will be announced once contracts are finalized, according to REI.

St. George’s proximity to Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks, Snow Canyon State Park, majestic redrock cliffs and canyons and hundreds of miles hiking and biking trails make opening a location there a no-brainer, according to Salt Lake City resident John Wilcox.

“The entire St. George area is a Mecca for outdoor recreation that draws people from all over the world,” said Wilcox, who enjoys hiking the Anasazi Trail southwest of Ivins and Zion National Park each winter. “It makes sense from a financial standpoint to have an REI outlet there.”

Mary-Farrell Tarbox, REI vice president of stores, said proximity to outdoor recreation is always an important factor in the decision about where to open new stores.

“Each of these communities has an abundance of easily accessible natural places to play in addition to proximity to iconic national parks where REI currently guides active adventures,” Tarbox stated in a news release. “We look forward to serving as a welcoming resource to everyone through our staff’s expertise and broad product assortment. As we do in every community where we have a presence, we will also establish nonprofit partnerships to support their efforts to help get more people outside.”

In 2022, REI contributed $6.1 million to more than 260 outdoor organizations to help fund better access to outdoor recreation places. In conjunction with opening the new stores, workers at each location will be recommending local nonprofits to receive financial support from the REI Cooperative Action Fund, according to the news release.

REI was founded in 1938 by a group of 23 Seattle-area climbers who formed a co-op and paid $1 apiece for a lifetime membership fee. Today the REI community has 23 million lifetime members, more than 16,000 employees and 181 locations in 41 states and the District of Columbia.