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Outdoor retailer REI lands in Sarasota

The REI Co-op is expected to bring 50 new jobs to the area with its coming University Town Center location.

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  • | 3:00 p.m. March 13, 2023
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An REI Co-op is expected to debut in Sarasota this fall.
An REI Co-op is expected to debut in Sarasota this fall.
Courtesy photo
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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REI Co-op expects to open its first Sarasota location later this year.

The specialty outdoor retailer joins the growing list of new stores and dining establishments opening this year at University Town Center, a Benderson Development mixed-use property.

REI Sarasota plans to open this fall after hiring about 50 employees.  

The 25,000-square-foot store will feature apparel, gear and expertise for outdoor activities like camping, cycling, running and more. There will also be an on-site full-service bike shop. The retailer has seven locations in the state including one in Tampa.

“We’ve long recognized the opportunity to better serve our customers who live and play in the Sarasota area, as they have been driving an hour to our Tampa store,” says Les Hatton, REI's regional director, in a release. “Incredible natural places such as Alafia State Park, Myakka River State Park, Robinson Preserve and many others offer some of the best cycling, paddling, hiking, bird watching and outdoor activities in the state. We look forward to being a resource to the community and building lasting relationships with regional nonprofits.”

The Seattle-based co-op, with 181 locations, has operated in Florida since 2013, when it opened its Jacksonville store. Within the past five years, the co-op has invested over $450,000 in Florida land agencies and nonprofit partners to help steward trails, waterways and parks.


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