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“Our competition is not the other great outdoor stores. Our competition is the couch.”
With that declaration Sally Jewell, President and CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), welcomed a wide array of non-profits, community service organizations and even competing bike and outdoor equipment stores to REI’s second “green prototype” store. The pre-opening day community reception for the new Round Rock store took place on Thursday, September 25.
BikeTexas staff attended, as did members of the Austin Cycling Association and Austin Ridge Riders, trail and youth advocacy groups and many others. REI staff throughout the store highlighted its “green building” architecture including solar panels, extensive use of recycled materials, and natural light piped in through “Solatube” fixtures – even into the dressing rooms, so customers can see how that jacket will really look out on the trail.
Store manager Todd Callaway, former Dallas REI store manager, worked hard through the construction, setup and staff training for the new store. Though nearly all of the floor staff members are new to REI, Todd said that proof of their enthusiasm and passion for the outdoors could be seen in the quick but meticulous setup of the new store around us. Todd also serves as BikeTexas Board Member and Treasurer.
Todd and Sally made their presentation in the central, open-air mezzanine level community center. This space has complete AV setup to accommodate meetings, trainings and other club and non-profit group functions. This is a welcome amenity because as Todd pointed out, though all REI stores offer community space, sometimes it’s the loading dock – some of us well recall taking classes with kayaks hanging all around us!
REI is well-known for its employee-driven focus on the community. BikeTexas and countless other Texas organizations have benefited greatly from their generous grants and volunteer hours.