Gainesville nature lovers and athletes will have another place to buy outdoor essentials.
Recreational Equipment Inc., known as REI, a popular outdoor equipment store, will open in Butler Town Center in spring 2020, said Mary Reichardt, corporate director of marketing at Butler Enterprises.
Butler Enterprises chose REI to fill an available 23,000-square-foot space in April 2019 because of the natural attractions that surround Gainesville as well as the store’s focus on sustainability, Reichardt said.
“They remain focused on their mission above profitability, and that has made them a very successful company and a perfect fit for Alachua County,” Reichardt said.
The athletic retailer will be in competition with Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops and Lloyd Clarke Sports, which already have locations in Gainesville.
However, customers shouldn’t feel pressured to choose just one store, Reichardt said.
“[REI] is really focused on more outdoor experiences like tents, biking, hiking, fishing or canoeing,” Reichardt said. “That’s really a strong focus for the store, and I think it rounds out what we already have in the market.”
Gianna Sweeting, a 19-year-old UF biomedical engineering student, recently heard about REI’s new location. She said she is looking forward to both browsing their products and attending some of the workshops the store offers.
“I’m most excited about the free outdoor classes and the good prices on outdoor equipment,” Sweeting said.