SUNNYVALE — REI Co-op will open a new store in Sunnyvale on the site of a shuttered toy outlet through a lease that marks a relocation and expansion for the famed specialty outdoor retailer.
The new REI store in Sunnyvale will emerge at the site of a former Toys ‘R Us near the corner of El Camino Real and Saratoga Sunnyvale Road, REI Co-op confirmed.
“Our store team is incredibly excited about the relocation and eager to get more involved with the Sunnyvale community,” said Kirk Peterson, REI regional director for Northern California.
The new REI store is expected to open this fall, the retailer said.
REI typically employs 75 to 85 people at a store of this size, REI said Monday.
“The Sunnyvale location will provide more than 1.4 million lifetime REI members in Northern California with the gear and resources to enjoy the outdoors in the South Bay,” Peterson said.
REI has leased 37,000 square feet, the retailer said. That’s 7,000 square feet more than the space REI now occupies in Mountain View at a store on Charleston Road.
REI Co-op store in Mountain View on Charleston Road. // Google Maps
The larger space will enable REI to offer customers a wider choice of gear and expertise for the South Bay’s most popular outdoor activities.
REI Sunnyvale will also feature expanded professional bike, ski and snowboard shops, as well as a new community space, the retailer said.
Broker Ryan Warner of Meacham/Oppenheimer, a commercial real estate firm, helped to arrange the REI lease in Sunnyvale.
Future site of an REI Co-op store at 130 E. El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, a former Toys ‘R Us location. // George Avalos / Bay Area News Group
REI was founded in 1938 as a cooperative after Seattle-based outdoor enthusiasts Lloyd Anderson and Mary Anderson became dissatisfied with the prices and availability of an array of equipment. The Andersons believed they were paying too much at local retailers for items such as ice axes.
The concept spread and in 1938, 23 people formed a cooperative retailer that became the basis of the current organization that is now the nation’s largest consumer co-op. REI has more than 20 million members and operates 168 stores in 39 states.
“REI History: It started with an ice axe,” the company states on its website.
REI limited-edition ice ax is a reminder of the motivation of the founders of REI to launch the co-op in Seattle in 1938. // REI Co-op
REI’s other Northern California stores are in Berkeley, Concord, Corte Madera, Dublin, Folsom, Fremont, the Monterey County city of Marina, Roseville, Sacramento, San Carlos, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Rosa. A Santa Cruz store is slated to open in the fall of this year.
Wide-ranging construction work was underway this week inside the big Sunnyvale store.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the community into the new space and have the opportunity to connect, inspire, and enable a life outside for even more people,” Peterson said.