Original Article: The Gainesville Sun
A national retailer in outdoors goods is coming outfit North Florida’s nature enthusiasts, from hikers at Bivens Arm Nature Park to Ginnie Springs snorkelers and San Felasco trail cyclists.
Recreational Equipment Inc., or REI Co-op, plans to open a 23,000-square-foot store at Butler Town Center, off Archer Road, by spring 2020.
REI Gainesville will be located in a new building beside Bonefish Grill, across from Whole Foods Market, said Butler Enterprises spokeswoman Mary Reichardt.
The store will offer a wide assortment of quality gear, apparel and equipment rentals for the region’s most popular outdoor pastimes. REI Gainesville will also offer workshops and guided outdoor experiences to connect people to a life outdoors.
Reichardt said it is a great location to open a store dedicated to highlighting the outdoors.
“It aligns with our vision for Alachua County, with the La Chua Trail and other activities in nature,” she said. “It was definitely a perfect fit for the area to promote what people value here.”
Currently, the only REI stores in Florida are located in Jacksonville and Winter Park.
However, it will compete with other Gainesville outdoor recreation stores, including national retailers like Dick Sporting Goods, nearby in Butler North, and Bass Pro Shops, across Interstate 75 in Celebration Pointe, along with locally owned outdoors retailer Lloyd Clarke Sports, 1504 NW 13th St.