REI sign at the Hollywood Shopping Complex

An online petition was launched yesterday morning asking REI’s Board of Directors to keep its College Park branch. It hasn’t been even 24 hours since the launched, yet has gathered more than 400 signatures. Here is the link:

The petition reads the following:

We understand that REI is considering closing its College Park store. As customers and local residents, many of whom are also REI members, we wanted to let you know that REI has been a stable and valued retailer in the College Park community for many years. It is a great fit in our diverse, environmentally-focused, health-conscious, university community. The College Park area is abuzz with no less than six local farmers markets, a rich network of bicycle trails, two Metro rail stations, and a Big Ten, major research university with an on-campus daytime population of 50,000.

When few retailers were locating in College Park, REI led the way. Now, College Park is undergoing a significant transformation – major redevelopment is occurring in College Park both on and off campus, with seven mixed-use residential projects in the pipeline, and several hotel projects totaling 525 rooms and a major conference facility. On campus, four state-of-the-art research and academic buildings are under construction, including those in computer sciences, engineering, health and human performance, and teaching and learning. Taken together, on campus and off, these represent $1 billion of redevelopment underway in College Park. Beyond these, but on the near horizon, College Park will be home to a new innovation district – which will teem with employment in new start-ups that are being created every year through university research. The University System of Maryland recently invested $25 million toward assisting start-up ventures.

While REI is investing in its Rockville store and a new store in Washington, DC, those of us living and working in communities in and around College Park are just as likely to travel to outdoor retailers in Annapolis or other areas of the region as we are to trek to those locations or to the Columbia, Maryland REI.

We have been proud, loyal customers of REI College Park and respectfully ask that you continue to keep REI operating in College Park.