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Outdoor Gear Retailer REI to Open in Santa Barbara

The store off Highway 101 will hire 40 to 50 employees and is set to open in the fall of 2011

Outdoor gear retailer REI announced Wednesday that it plans to open a new store in Santa Barbara in the fall of 2011.

The Seattle-based company said it plans to hire 40 to 50 employees for the new store off Highway 101 between Anacapa and State streets.

“We want to provide families and those who love the outdoors with the advice, education and products they need to enjoy the outdoors comfortably and easily,” Greg Mellinger, REI retail director for Southern California, said in a news release. “This announcement reflects our commitment to expanding our presence in Southern California and offering our members and customers more ways to get outside.”

The location, more than 24,500 square feet, will offer products for outdoor activities, such as camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel. It will operate a bike shop for assemblies and repairs, a gear rental department, and community space where nonprofit and outdoor organizations can hold classes and events.

REI is a national outdoor retail co-op “dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship,” company officials said.

Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI officials said they are committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.

Noozhawk contributor Ray Estrada can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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