REI Coming to DCUSA in Columbia Heights?

Holy canoli! I think this would be phenomenal. Of course I love hiking but still an REI would be fantastic, no? A reader writes:

“I recently came across news on the Columbia Heights News website that REI is considering a location at the new DCUSA in Columbia Heights. This would be a great addition as the outdoor coop is a solid company known for, besides quality outdoor gear, being an all around good and ethical company – the kind of retail neighbor that would be awesome for the neighborhood.

It would be helpful for those interested to be in touch with all the usual suspects when dealing with DCUA (Jim Graham and GridProperties – [email protected], [email protected][email protected]), but particularly with REI.

In response to my email to Grip Properties in support of the REI, I was told the following:

Thanks for your e-mail. It would be most helpful if you and your friends and colleagues would contact REI directly. They are new to urban markets and need to hear directly from their potential customers.

After a few email exchanges with REI, I was informed that the best way to get in touch with them was through this link: – Surprisingly, they said they will forward any emails regarding the project to administrative offices associated with such things.

I think this would be a huge development for the community. The Columbia Heights News website mentioned they were in direct competition with Ross Dress For Less (you know, the store very similar to the Marshals already moving into DCUSA) – so either way its probably a good thing if community members made their preferences known.”

19 Comment

  • i’m still going to shop at hudson trail outfitters in tenleytown, because they’re a local store. maybe we could get them to move to DCUSA instead of REI.

  • An REI would be amazing. DCUSA needs some diversity in that retail line-up. REI would be perfect – not having to go all the way out to VA or MD to visit the store would be great. Emails sent to all of the above!

  • Personally, I like REI much better than HTO. Plus the one Tenleytown makes me claustrophobic

    Anyway, I think REI or HTO would do great in that location, but they better stock up on their North Face jackets 🙂

  • I drive all the way out to VA now to shop at REI. Would be a great new store for the District residents. Plus, that shopping center already is going to have a Marshalls. Do we really need Marshals + Ross? Why not get some variety and bring more people to the area. I hope this goes through! Going to e-mail REI right now…

  • Yah – if they have any hesitation about an urban store, they should just walk around Columbia Heights to notice the potential for North Face jacket sales! I bet they don’t sell those at the Ross!

  • According to friends that have worked for both, REI treats their employees better than HTO. As far as North Face jackets go, they better have some serious security procedures in place. The HTO in Telney has a crazy theft issue. I think there’s an MPD officer that just goes between HTO & Best Buy there on Wisconsin Ave. and does theft/shoplifting reports all day. It would be great to have another bike shop in town though, which REI & HTO usually incorporate into their stores.

  • I sort of dislike HTO because they are always out of stock for whatever One Thing I’ve gone to purchase. Also, their “cash reward” program is truly bogus.

  • I just got a reply from the REI link provided above (in about 30 min!)…see below:


    Thank you for your questions regarding the process of choosing a location for a new store.

    If you are interested in reading more about the process, the following link on contains information regarding our real estate team and parameters, in addition to how to suggest a new store location. Also on this web page is a list of our brokers that you are welcome to contact.

    As a cooperative, we approach our store openings slower than most national retailers, only opening seven to ten stores per year.

    We hope you find this information helpful!

    Jeanean H.
    REI Online Customer Service

    See What’s Happening at Your Local REI!

    New Benefits with the REI VISA! /
    PO Box 1938, Sumner, WA 98390-0800
    Phone: 800-426-4840
    Fax: 253-891-2523
    Click Here To Email REI.

  • On the Target-complex tip though, I saw a sign today about a parking/traffic meeting (I’m sorry I don’t remember the day, but it’s at Tubman elementary, and the sign was near there) re: the MARCH 8 opening of the stores.

    So there’s a definite date, I guess. And it’s pretty close!

  • My weekend intel in a nutshell! I heard about the REI Possibility from my husband, who was nearing a heart attack at the concept of this dream come true. I just send my e-mail of support, I hope others will too!

    While out on a walk yesterday, we asked the security guards at DC USA about an opening date and they said the same as above- March 8th as the opening date (for Target and Lane Bryant only). We also asked about the REI prospects, but they’re not really privy to that info and had no updates.

    If REI opens, I might just try to work there part time so I can justify spending more time there. It is my happy place.

    This town is teeming with weekend warriors who would eat that place up!

    Starbucks, REI… heck- now all Columbia Heights needs is a Nordstrom, Taco Time and decent radio stations and I’d feel like I was home in Seattle again 🙂

  • The parking meeting is tonight hosted by everyone’s “favorite” councilmember.

  • This place is starting to feel like the burbs – it’s awful!!! If you want a Starbucks on every corner and lots of awful chain stores, move to Virginia!!!

  • awful chain store? REI is a cooperative that is known for treating it’s employees well, and organizing community service and environmental education activities. they seem to put a bit of planning into opening new stores and don’t just throw them into every strip mall. what’s so awful about REI?

  • Anon#1: Are you nuts??

    I’m sorry I mentioned Starbucks- I’d forgotten momentarily that this coffee chain is such a vile symbol of commercialism for those who’d prefer an other Speedy Liquor or abandoned building. REI and Starbucks are SO not on the same wave length. They’re just both from Seattle. That is all.

  • I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a funky, offbeat, local-owned alternative outdoor/camping gear co-op. REI is not a bad chain store to have. If you want to worry about suburbanization, focus on, I don’t know, the giant Best Buy going in next door.

    REI != Pottery Barn, and
    (Columbia Heights + REI) != Clarendon

  • REI in the city? I’d consider crossing the river for good… I love REI.

    HTO is a TERRIBLE store that is much closer in mentality to the evil box stores. If you are looking for an honest to goodness mom & pop outdoor retail experience check out Casual Adventure in Arlington.

  • Face it–it’s too late for Columbia Heights–all the chains are there now. We may as well get one that we like. I’m excited about REI. That’s huge.

  • “Yah – if they have any hesitation about an urban store, they should just walk around Columbia Heights to notice the potential for North Face jacket sales! I bet they don’t sell those at the Ross!”

    LOL at this

  • REI would be great for our neighborhood. Great clothing, gear and corporate mission statement and policies.

    I am tired of running to MD and VA for my shopping at REI. This city could definetely use more recreationally focused retail!

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