Good news. REI is coming to Keizer Station.
REI has signed a lease for space at Keizer Station. Bethany Hawley, an REI spokeswoman, confirmed today that the outdoor gear retailer had leased space at the Keizer shopping mall.
“Unfortunately, that’s all the details I can share at this moment. We will have a formal announcement next week,” Hawley said.
Several stores recently opened by REI have hired about 50 employees, according to the company’s website. The size of its newer stores has been in the range of 23,000-square-feet,
Founded in 1938, REI is the nation’s largest consumer cooperative with 5.1 million active members. While anyone may shop with the retailer, REI members pay a one-time $20 fee and receive a share in profits through an annual member refund.
REI stands for Recreational Equipment, Inc. The company has 132 stores in 33 states and 11,000 employees.
My wife and I love REI. We're members. Until now the closest REI store was in Tualatin, near Bridgeport Village. It'll be great to have one much closer to home.
I agree with the Salem Breakfast on Bikes blog, though. It would have been nice if REI had decided on a different Salem location, because Keizer Station is a dreadful monument to poor shopping center design.
REI also would have been a terrific anchor-type tenant for the Boise redevelopment project. Or maybe a different parcel in or near downtown.
...Instead, they'll by-pass Salem for the faux "town center" of Keizer Station. It's a real missed opportunity. It would be nice for the City to discuss publicly their attempts (or involvement) to recruit REI and why they by-passed Salem for Keizer.
I'm pretty sure that Larry Tokarski of Mountain West Investment, the developers of Pringle Square (aforementioned Boise Cascade redevelopment project) near the downtown riverfront, has said that they tried to attract REI to be an anchor tenant of mixed-use Pringle Square.
The supposed reason, I believe, was that Salem demographics were a barrier to REI coming to town. Well, now we know that wasn't the reason. For sure, Keizer isn't to Salem as Lake Oswego is to Portland. Demographics must be nearly the same.
This is encouraging for those of us who want Salem to be more of a cooler, cutting-edge, lively city.
Developers like Mountain West Investment who claim desirable anchor businesses won't come to Salem need to look more at their own development strategies, and less at their "can't happen" excuses for settling for mediocre.