Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice — REI opens its first New York City store in Soho tomorrow, Friday, December 2nd, with grand opening specials through the weekend. The first 200 people through the door each day receive a free CamelBak water bottle and an REI gift card worth up to $100, and the next $1,000 receive a free Keen tote bag. Clearly, REI expects a big crowd. But the store can handle crowds — it’s a whopper — nearly 40,000 square feet on three levels offering top brand outdoor gear and clothing for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, skiing, snowboarding and more. The new location is in the ground floor of the Puck Building, 303 Lafayette St., off Houston and Broadway. There’s also a complete bicycle shop, and technicians to keep bikes, skis and snowboards tuned up. You can also enter for a chance to win great prizes from tents and bikes to a trip to Costa Rica. The contest ends on December 4, 2011. No purchase necessary. See the REI website for official rules. for details. There’s also an REI app you can download to guide you to the billboards and other REI ads around town to celebrate the opening of NYC’s first REI store.
REI is the second major outdoor store to open in NYC since the summer. Eastern Mountain Sports — EMS — opened on the Upper West Side a few months ago, and also has a store in Soho, a few blocks away. Competition is good.