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Northeast

REI to open first “small-format” neighborhood store this fall

The 6,500-square-foot space will be the smallest of the co-op's nationwide locations.


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REI announced this week that it will expand into a new retail category this fall with the opening of a store in Cambridge, Mass., that the company is calling its “first ever small-format neighborhood store.” The upcoming location, set to open at 181 Morgan Ave., will occupy just 8,000 square feet, with 6,500 square feet of customer-facing space featuring a highly curated selection of goods.

“Cambridge is a community filled with residents who share the same passion for getting outside everyday as we do at the co-op,” divisional vice president of retail Kurt Feilke told OBJ. “The small-format approach will allow us to be intentional in the products we assort.”

Read more: Did REI fare better or worse than other outdoor businesses in 2020?

A company release said the “rich heritage of running and cycling in Greater Boston” will be a focus of the store. The space will be connected to a commuter bike center, with a “customer gathering space” factored into the location design.

Other REI stores that have opened in recent years have ranged between 22,000-25,000 square feet, according to Feilke, making this new shop—the company’s fifth in Massachusetts and eleventh in New England—a significant departure from the co-op’s retail strategy thus far. The company’s largest store remains its 98,000-square-foot Seattle flagship location, which opened in 1996.

“After 34 years in Massachusetts, including 18 years in Fenway, we’re proud to grow into the city of Cambridge this fall—a neighborhood filled with outdoor enthusiasts and forward-thinking companies,” said Becky Smith, REI’s Northeast regional director. “We look forward to joining the fabric of a community that shares our belief that time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.”

The opening of the new location will occur roughly in sync with another store opening farther north in New England, also slated for fall 2021, in Westbrook, Maine.