REI Comes to Town

On May 21, outdoor gear goliath Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) officially opened its doors at Stone Ridge Square on North 19th, boasting over 25,000 square feet of top outdoor brands, a bike shop, and a gear-rental department. This marks yet another outlet for Bozeman’s famously gear-hungry population, and yet another feather in the cap of REI, which now claims Bozeman among its many mountain-town conquests.

REI representatives state that the company will try to enter Bozeman very respectfully, focusing on what’s best for the outdoor community. “We’re very excited to work with the community and existing outdoor retailers,” says Bethany Nielson, public affairs associate for REI. Hoping to become a resource for local nonprofit and volunteer organizations, the company donated $10,000 to the Gallatin Valley Land Trust for the Sourdough Canyon trailhead project.

How do Bozeman’s existing gear shops feel about sharing space with such a retail giant? “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, and we wish them luck,” says Greg Caracciolo of Northern Lights Trading Company. Despite the competition, he says he feels confident overall. “We’ll deal. They’re going to impact Schnee’s and Chalet and Round House and everybody. We’ll all just do the best we can."