REI ready to launch $2 million upgrade

PHOTO/James MacPherson/AJOC
Construction is set to begin later this month on a $2 million renovation of outdoor gear retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. in Anchorage. Work should be complete by April 1, company officials said.

REI had considered relocating its Anchorage store when its long-term lease expired at Northern Lights Center, but the company renewed its lease, said REI general manager Mike Herzog.

Hickel Investment Co. operates the shopping center.

The retailer plans to remodel other stores this year, and the Anchorage store has expanded its products since moving to its present location, he said. "The Anchorage store is one of the oldest stores in the co-op in terms of the physical age of the building as well as the design and fixturing," Herzog said.

Renovations will add 1,000 square feet to the 36,000-square-foot store.

"Most of the work will be focused on making the store easier to shop and to take advantage of currently underutilized retail space," Herzog said.

New features will include a 7-foot boulder for rock climbing, water purification and stove test stations, a footwear test area and a clinic/seminar area for free weekly sessions held at the store. Renovations will also include the customer service desk and online ordering kiosks.

Once the project is completed, REI plans to add a unit that allows customers to print U.S. Geological Service maps from a computer terminal and special printer, he said.

REI’s internal construction staff will oversee the project, he said. Kumin Associates Inc. of Anchorage designed the remodeled store, and Boslough Construction Inc., also of Anchorage, will build it.

Herzog believes the remodel represents REI’s move to increase service to its Alaska members. "The Anchorage store remodel represents REI’s commitment to the unique needs of our Alaskan members."

01/13/2002 - 8:00pm