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REI Co-op is continuing an expansion into regional outdoor markets with its first store in Maine, opening this weekend.
The store will be the anchor retailer of Westbrook’s Rock Row shopping center, and one of its largest tenants, in a complex located about 15 minutes outside downtown Portland. Other occupants include a 122-room Element by Westin hotel, 12-screen Cinemark theater and a Live Nation concert venue.
An opening in the market the size of Westbrook (and Maine) is especially notable, following another marquee opening in Jackson Hole on Nov. 5. Both markets are smaller, yet important for the retailer, competing with traditional, smaller gear shops and ever-evolving e-commerce.
REI Westbrook’s opening weekend festivities will look similar to those the retailer put on for the Jackson Hole store. Each afternoon, the store will host outdoor vendors, local partners, and several Maine nonprofits from 2 to 6 p.m. The store will open at 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
REI says it has 47,000 lifetime co-op members in Maine and this store will be a central point for servicing all of their outdoor needs with a full shop for ski, snowboard, and bike service. Through a statement, REI added it will “invest $20,000 into the local outdoor community” as the store nears opening, but didn’t offer any further detail beyond that it’s part of the business’s annual overall philanthropic commitment.
The outdoor outfitter has opened a number of stores throughout New England over the last few years, including in Williston, Vt. (2019), North Conway, N.H. (2019), and Cambridge, Mass. (2021).
Two hours north of Boston, the Westbrook store should be a significant stopping point for those heading northeast to Acadia National Park and northwest to the White Mountains in Vermont.
The store is set to open in the midst of the company’s annual #OptOutside campaign, which will mark the seventh year in a row that all of REI’s locations will close on Black Friday. Although it will forgo profits and sales on the busiest shopping day of the year, the company will still pay its more than 15,000 employees.