Best Sporting Goods Store - 2001
You won't find a basketball at the Bay Area's best sporting goods store. Or a baseball glove. Or a tennis racket. So why is REI the best? Because you'll see things here that you won't at other sports stores: possibilities. REI is devoted exclusively to outdoor adventure sports -- camping, backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, kayaking -- and there is something about walking into this store, some ineffable tug at your soul and adrenal glands, that gets your heart racing and your imagination juiced. Maybe it's the indoor rock-climbing wall, or the racks of topographic maps, or the walls full of climbing gear that make you instantly conjure all the places you've wanted to explore. You're reminded that you've been meaning to take a rock climbing lesson, or hike the Pacific Crest for a couple of weeks, or summit Rainier, or kayak in Tomales Bay. And all the gear you'll ever need is right here. Not just sleeping bags, but 60 different kinds. Carabiners and pitons and climbing ropes. GPS units. Spelunking helmets! An entire store full of the coolest stuff, and well-trained salespeople to tell you exactly how to use it. The prices are decent, and if you join this co-op as a member, you can get discounts and rebates on all your purchases. Yeah, you're just going car camping in Mendocino, so you don't really need those crampons for ice climbing. But you might someday. Someday soon, you just might.