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It’s official: REI is opening a store in SLO — and here’s when

Could an REI be in San Luis Obispo’s future?

REI is working to open a store at the SLO Promenade in San Luis Obispo. It would be located next to the future Sprout's Farmers Market store in the old Forever 21 building.
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REI is working to open a store at the SLO Promenade in San Luis Obispo. It would be located next to the future Sprout's Farmers Market store in the old Forever 21 building.

REI Co-op confirmed Tuesday that it will open a store in San Luis Obispo, according to a company news release.

The camping and outdoor recreation chain announced in a news release that it will open the 22,000-square-foot store at the SLO Promenade shopping center in the fall of 2019. An exact date was not given.

“Close to the California coast and Los Padres National Forest, San Luis Obispo is a thriving outdoor hub,” said Greg Mellinger, REI retail director for California and Nevada, in the release. “We are thrilled to finally join San Luis Obispo and further connect our members to the amazing outdoor opportunities this community has to offer.”

Up until Tuesday, REI had been tight-lipped about its plans for months.

In October 2018, a city official told The Tribune that REI filed an application for a building permit to open a store in a renovated space at the SLO Promenade.

By March, building permits were approved and construction was underway at 313 Madonna Road, Suite B.

REI’s name also appeared in city planning documents dated June 13, 2017, and reviewed by the city’s Architectural Review Commission on July 17, 2017.

The documents showed concepts for the plaza’s ongoing SLO Promenade renovation, indicating REI has long eyed a commercial space adjacent to Sprouts Farmers Market in the shopping center. Sprouts opened its doors in early April.

According to Tuesday’s news release, REI’s San Luis Obispo location will offer outdoor gear and rentals, workshops and “guided outdoor experiences to connect people to a life outdoors.”

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