Outdoor enthusiasts from across Greater Prescott and beyond converged on Frontier Village Center during the first weekend of November to celebrate the arrival of REI Co-op’s newest Arizona store, with 500 lined up outside the front door on opening day.
Sixty employees welcomed customers to the store at 1761 E. AZ-69, Suite 26B in Prescott, drawn by its wide selection of gear for everybody who frolics outside in the area’s natural beauty and four-season climate.
The Friday-Sunday festivities included numerous vendor displays, morning giveaways, afternoon socials, free coffee and commemorative mugs for customers who donated to The Launch Pad. The local nonprofit, one of several REI will support, provides opportunities for youth to connect through clubs, camps, leadership activities and other interactive pursuits. Teen representatives were onsite through the weekend.
Campers, cyclists, mountain bikers, runners, hikers, backpackers, climbers, paddlers, wildlife watchers, yogis and many others can pursue their passion with the supplies they need for healthy and fun outdoor fitness and hobbies. The store includes a full-service bike shop with licensed mechanics, among other offerings.
Store manager Jess Wesling, who most recently worked at REI’s flagship store in Seattle, said she’s happy to move back to a relatively small town and lead a 60-member team.
“We definitely have very excited, friendly employees who are looking forward to sharing their experiences and expertise with the community, helping people get outside. We are really welcoming to all people and are helping people get access to the outdoors safely and sustainably,” she said.
The 25,000-square-foot store offers a broad selection of gear for all forms of recreation but will likely see its biggest draw from running, cycling and camping equipment. That said, it’s not your typical retailer.
“REI is a different kind of company,” Wesling said. “As a co-op we’re customer-owned, so we’re not publicly traded. And that means we act in the long-term interest of our members and the community. We believe deeply that time outside connecting to nature is fundamental to our well-being as humans and communities.”
REI is open to all shoppers and is the largest consumer co-op in the U.S., with members who pay a one-time $30 fee eligible for additional discounts on purchases, rentals, bike shop services, and who can buy and trade in used gear, among other benefits. They also have access to the REI Co-Op Adventure Center Arizona in Scottsdale, where they can rent gear and enjoy winter biking, hiking and kayaking/paddle boarding in the desert.
The company already had about 10,000 co-op members in the Prescott area when the store opened. It is the fifth store in the state, joining outlets in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Chandler and Tucson. It has 185 locations throughout the nation.
Prescott’s REI store is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information call 928.267.1550 or visit www.rei.com.