New store will offer top quality gear, expertise and outdoor experiences in the Chicago area
09.18.2018
SEATTLE – Outdoor co-op REI will be officially open for business in Vernon Hills, Illinois on September 28 in the Mellody Farm shopping center at 901 North Milwaukee Avenue. The new store will support the growing outdoor community in the greater Chicago area by offering the best gear and expertise for the region’s most popular outdoor activities. REI Vernon Hills is conveniently located near the Des Plaines River and the MacArthur Woods Forest Preserve. 
 
“The greater Chicago area is quickly becoming known for its access to outdoor recreation, and we’re excited to continue to grow in this community,” said Greg Hamilton, REI Vernon Hills store manager. “Our new store in Vernon Hills will provide members living farther north of Chicago with the best gear and expertise for all of their favorite outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, paddling and camping.” 
 
REI Vernon Hills will also offer in-store workshops and outdoor experiences. Upcoming programs near Vernon Hills include Kayak Tour on the Des Plaines River and How to Ride a Bike at Half Day Forest Preserve, among others. Beyond Vernon Hills, REI offers experiences throughout the Chicago area, including paddle programs and rentals at the REI Boathouse at Ping Tom Memorial Park and the REI Boathouse at Saganashkee Slough. As a national leader in outdoor experiences, REI helped more than 375,000 people across the country get outside with classes and events last year.  
 
To celebrate the new store, REI this year has invested $20,000 in the Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves in Vernon Hills. Funds will help restore the shoreline at the Route 60 Canoe Launch along the Des Plaines River, and support trail restoration efforts in Ryerson Woods 
 
REI Vernon Hills is hosting a grand opening event with free public activities and giveaways throughout the weekend. 
 
  • Enjoy free food and activities: Starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, REI Vernon Hills will host a party in the parking lot with free breakfast, music, games and REI Outdoor School programs. Vendors will also be on site offering exclusive giveaways and demonstrations. Events end at noon each day. 
  • Shop early, get rewards: The first 250 people (age 18 and up) through the door on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will receive a limited-edition water bottle with a $10, $50 or $100 REI gift card inside. Doors open at 10 a.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. on Sunday. 
  • Local partnerships:REI is partnering with local Tighthead Brewing Company on “Greenway Boogie, a limited-edition India pale ale. Together, REI and Tighthead Brewing Company are donating 10 percent of beer sales to Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves, which maintains the Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway, located adjacent to the new store 
 
REI annually gives back nearly 70 percent of its profits to the outdoor community, and in 2018 is investing $8.8 million in over 400 nonprofits to steward more than 1,000 outdoor spaces across the country. This includes more than $230,000 for organizations in Illinois. Chicago is also one of five U.S. cities where REI is investing in rewilding efforts, working with nonprofit partners to transform Southeast Chicago into a thriving outdoor recreation hubLearn more about these efforts here.  
 
REI Vernon Hills marks the co-op’s fourth location in the greater Chicago area, joining stores in Oakbrook Terrace (opened 2001), Northbrook (opened 2007) and Lincoln Park (opened 2008, relocating in 2019).   
 
About REI Co-op 
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 1million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 153 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.comREI Outlet or the free REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs more than 170 custom-designed itineraries worldwide. The REI Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner-to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.
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