TAMPA — REI Co-Op intends to open its first Tampa-area store early next month, kicking off a wave of premiers within the $500 million Midtown Tampa development.
The outdoor specialty retailer’s March 5 opening of its 23,000-square-foot store — its fifth in Florida — also marks a milestone for Midtown Tampa developer Bromley Cos.’ 22-acre, mixed-use project, which also contains office space, a hotel and apartments, as well as retail and restaurants.
“Whether trying paddling for the first time or heading out on a familiar trail, we’ll have the gear and expertise our members need to get outside,” says Cindy Smith, the manager of REI’s new Tampa store, in a statement.
Midtown Tampa's retail leasing and development is being conducted by Casto Southeast Realty Services, of Lakewood Ranch, and JR Anderson Real Estate, of Ohio. In all, the project will contain more than 200,000 square feet of retail space, featuring Whole Foods Mark, True Food Kitchen and Ponte Group Restaurant, among others.
To better protect the store’s 52 employees and customers, REI is requiring that employees and consumers alike wear face masks while shopping and maintain social distancing in the store. REI also intends to limit the number of shoppers in the store at any one time and reduce overall store hours. Initially, the store will be open from to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Customers may be asked to wait in line outside of the store to ensure proper distancing. REI has also installed plexiglass shields at all checkout counters within the 1152 Assembly Drive store and will conduct enhanced cleaning procedures to ensure safety.
It also is offering customers virtual outfitting appointments online to receive personalized, one-on-one service for boot and shoe fittings, cycling outfitting and advice on camping and backpacking gear. REI has operated in Florida since 2013, when it opened its Jacksonville store. The Seattle-based co-op also maintains locations in Winter Park, Gainesville and Boca Raton.
In all, REI has 168 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia and 19 million co-op members.