Yesterday I mentioned a new REI being built very close to where I live and how it was one of only two “prototype stores” that they had built so far, the other being in Boulder, Colorado. Well, not long after I made that post, I received an invitation to attend a special pre-opening ceremony tonight at the new store. Being a bit of a gear hound, I said “yes” of course! So tonight, I’m going to get to check out the new store first hand, while hobnobbing with REI CEO Sally Jewell. The first thing I’m going to ask her is when can I start as REI’s official blogger. 😉
I also noted yesterday that I had originally planned to swing by the store on Friday evening to catch seven time Everest summitteer Pete Athans, who’ll be in the house doing a Q&A and slide presentation. Turns out they’ve got a whole host of adventurers coming through this weekend, and I might end up just staying in the store for the entire time. Do you think they’d mind if I slept in one of those tents they have on display?
In addition to “Mr. Everest” showing up tomorrow night, on Saturday they’ve got Royal Robbins coming by to talk about his long and storied climbing career as well as to hawk his line of clothing. Then, later in the evening, Jon Bowermaster will be on hand with a presentation of his own. I’ve got a copy of his new book Descending The Dragon (review coming soon!) that I’d love to have him sign, and after writing about him on this blog many times, it should be interesting to hear him in person. Finally, on Sunday, triathlete Jessi Stensland will be in the store discussing training for and competing in triathlons, which I’ve started to do myself.
You can learn more about the events going on this weekend at the new Round Rock, Texas store here, and learn what makes these newly designed REI stores special on this page. In a nutshell though, the store is designed from the ground up to be highly sustainable and to go light on the environment. It’s design is very “green” and is setting a standard for future retail stores to follow.
In my day job I work with a lot of architects, and my company publishes an architectural magazine, so I’m bringing my camera along tonight to get some shots of the place for possible inclusion into the magazine as well as for posting on here. It won’t be all work though. You turn me loose in a store of mostly untouched gear, and I’m apt to fondle some of it. Should be a fun evening.
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