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Outdoor clothing retailer REI taking over closed Circuit City store in Dublin

Membership store will have 50 on payroll when it opens next fall

National retailer REI has announced that it will open a new store in Dublin next fall, taking over the space once occupied by Circuit City in the Amador Plaza.

The one story, 24,000-square-foot facility will provide brand-name gear and apparel for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel products. REI Dublin also will offer a bike shop for quick assemblies and repairs, and a seasonal gear rental department for customers to test out new outdoor activities.

"REI has been honored to outfit outdoor enthusiasts in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1975 through our store in Berkeley," said Tim Spangler, REI's vice president of REI, which stands for Recreational Equipment, Inc.

"The Dublin store will provide us the opportunity to bring our friendly expertise and quality outdoor products closer to the more than 42,500 active REI members that live within 15 miles of the new location."

The company currently serves nearly 417,000 active members through 10 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. REI operates 114 retail stores nationwide and two online stores – rei.com and REI-OUTLET.com – in addition to manufacturing its own REI brand and Novara bike products.

To staff the new store, REI will recruit approximately 50 people. Hiring will occur three months prior to the opening and employment information will be available at www.rei.com/jobs.

Through its locally driven grants program, the company also supports local non-profit organizations that help people experience and restore the outdoors, providing $3.7 million of grant support to non-profits last year.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, REI granted $272,000 to 21 non-profit partners in 2010, including the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, East Bay Regional Park District and Save Mount Diablo. REI Dublin also will provide community space for the company and its local partners to host outdoor-related classes, presentations and events.

Although it operates as a consumer cooperative, the public can shop at REI, paying a one-time membership fee of $20. Members receive an annual member refund based on their purchases. More than $80 million in annual refunds was distributed to more than 3.9 million active members this year based on the co-op's 2009 sales, the retailer said.

REI members also receive discounts on gear rentals and REI Adventures trips and REI Outdoor School classes, in addition to free shipping on purchases of $75 or more through REI.com, REI-OUTLET.com and phone direct sales orders.

RERI was founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers.

Linda Maurer, Dublin's Economic Development director, said the city is "thrilled about (REI's) decision to locate here."

"They will be tearing down the half-built building behind Circuit City and building a new structure there," she said. "Dublin has been working on this deal for a long while and we're happy to finally share the news."

REI is the second sporting goods store to announce plans to open a retail operation in Dublin. Earlier, Sports Authority, which has 450 stores in 45 states, said it will open a sports gear store in the now-closed Mervyn's Department Store on Regional Street.

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