Forum Home  |  Living La Vida Tacoma  |  The Great Outdoors

New downtown Tacoma REI?

by dolly varden
on 8/15/2010 @ 10:39am
Does anyone else think it would be cool to have an expanded Tacoma REI store downtown? With the closure of Backpacker's Supply, there's room for REI to start carrying more serious backcountry skiing and climbing gear, and they could use a better selection for just about everything (we shouldn't have to drive to Seattle or Redmond to get the right sized pair of hiking boots!). Their downtown stores (often in rehabbed old buildings) have done great in other cities (Seattle, Denver, Portland), and it would be great to have one here too.

If you agree, go to and let them know!

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/15/2010 @ 1:26pm
It has to really suck to be Tacoma. Even Spokane has a downtown area REI in a classic old warehouse building. I don't get it at all. Don't all these companies like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, and REI know how cool it would be for Tacoma for them to locate in our downtown

by fredo on 8/15/2010 @ 1:34pm
right chrenshaw, it could be a one stop shopping paradise. People could shop for high end camping equipment, exotic organic groceries, and secure a bail bond all in one convenient trip!

by Jesse on 8/15/2010 @ 1:50pm
I actually talked to Derek Young (Exit133 fame) about this at one time. He said he actually tried to convince them to build a location downtown but the demographics there were all wrong. Maybe he'll pipe in here and give us the full scoop...

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/15/2010 @ 1:59pm
So Derek of Exit133 fame couldn't get REI to Buy Now!! or Invest!!?

by fredo on 8/15/2010 @ 3:22pm
what's preventing downtown boosters from opening grocery stores, home improvement stores, backpacking stores, or any other businesses that they believe there is a desperate need for instead of waiting for national chains to fill the void?

Be the change you want to see in the world-Gandhi

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/15/2010 @ 10:51pm
FredoCorp International presents "Backpacker's bail bonds featuring liquor and Pawn"... your one stop shop to get in, out and to flee from jail - serving YOU since 2010

We have five convenient locations to serve you! Including downtown Everett, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and Spokane. Please visit our Flagship store in Downtown Tacoma, across from the new Marriott on 21st st.

by dolly varden on 8/16/2010 @ 9:56am
Jesse - Seems odd that the demographics are right near the mall but wrong two miles away downtown. Walkable, transit-friendly downtowns (even Tacoma's, unless we're in a special impenetrable vortex) are going to overtake malls in the future in terms of their economic vibrancy. Environmentally conscious businesses like REI should be ahead of the curve in realizing this and help expedite the process.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/16/2010 @ 10:12am
I miss Woolworth's.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/16/2010 @ 10:34am
Why can't Tacoma have anything nice. All the other towns get everything. Other towns get a fancy Trader Joe's and we get this sucky Sonic. Other towns get REI restoring an old warehouse downtown and we end up with state workers taking over Pacific Plaza. All the other towns get the good stuff, we end up with a Krispy Kreme that no one goes to anymore.

by furslug1 on 8/16/2010 @ 10:37am
I'm with Jinxmedic: I miss Woolworth's.

by furslug1 on 8/16/2010 @ 10:38am
Because Crenshaw, we don't treat our toys nicely enough so the powers that be won't let us ever have anything nice again. (oh, jeez I'm channeling my mother, sorry.)

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/16/2010 @ 11:11am
Picture, if you will, the old Woolworths as a Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market, or REI. You can see it in your mind and you know it would be so cool. The people at Pacific Plaza said they were in serious talks with a major grocery. We get the AG's employees instead. Tacoma is always getting hind teat.

by Jesse on 8/16/2010 @ 6:33pm
dolly: In the DT zip code is the Winthrop and countless other low income joints. The average income is too low and the density too low. When they pull stats on an area, they look at this and many other factors to determine if an area is viable. Literally some big businesses pull stats for zip codes all over the USA and determine the next best spot to put a store like theirs and build it there.

As well, places like this like to be on freeway corridors as to be spotted by as many people as possible.

Basically, DT Tacoma hasn't the right mix of stats, in what they deem as the important areas, to actually build a store.

by Jake on 8/16/2010 @ 6:55pm
Demographics: Bellevue, how are those going for you?

Closed restaurants.. empty high-end department stores who say their biz is coming in from shoppers on the phone..

Demographics work!

by fredo on 8/16/2010 @ 7:45pm
Jesse, I think your posting about Tacoma's insufficient demographics was probably about right. OTOH I don't know how much longer the right demographics are going to make a difference. If this recession keeps on for a couple more years there are going to be a lot of retail casualties in the brick & mortar segment even in geographical areas previously thought to have great demographics.

by dolly varden on 8/17/2010 @ 10:29am
Jesse, if that's what the the retailers' models say, I tend to think they're outdated, at least in the case of Tacoma. Not necessarily outdated in terms of the demographics of the 98402 zip (which is in fact improving as the new condos/condos-turned-apts are slowly being occupied), but outdated in their assumptions about where people in the surrounding zips (98403, 98406, 98405 etc.), where there is a little bit of disposable income, actually want to shop. Me and most of my friends and colleagues avoid the mall whenever possible, and shop downtown whenever feasible -- that trend exists just about everywhere in the country, even here. The recession is slowing the trend, but not stopping it. For instance, while you see lots of vacant office space in downtown Tacoma, I'd say there are more retail, food, and coffee shops there than there were when I moved here not too long before the recession began in 2008.

by Altered Chords on 8/17/2010 @ 11:57am
2 businesses I stumbled upon today that I've never seen before:

Swish: 712 Opera Alley - opened 2/2010

Abby's on Broadway - in new location 2 days.

Recession? I agree w/ Dolly V. Look around, there has been more new business formation in the past 6 months than in the previous 1.5 years. (in Tacoma).

by Jesse on 8/17/2010 @ 3:14pm
I don't make those rules dolly. That's just how big companies pick new locations.

And there have been a lot of new businesses open in the last years but a lot of them have already closed too. It's too much of a revolving door DT.

by dolly varden on 8/17/2010 @ 5:13pm
Don't worry Jesse, I'm not blaming you, I'm just saying that if corporations think ugly, ultra car-dependent places like the Tacoma Mall are the future, they ought to revisit their assumptions -- especially if, like REI, environmental stewardship is part of their mission.