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It feels like it has taken a long time, but in reality, the newest sporting goods and outdoor gear store in Billings went up relatively quickly. KTVQ reported the company's announcement that it was coming to Billings back in November 2019, and construction began shortly thereafter. Considering delays because of COVID-19, the store went up in less than a year and they opened their doors today (7/24). In an REI company press release, Caryn Youngholm, REI Billings store manager, said:

We know our members in Billings have been long awaiting our arrival to the community, and we are thrilled to serve not only those in Billings, but members in the Western Dakotas and Northern Wyoming as well. We look forward to helping our community explore and connect with the incredible outdoor places this region has to offer.

Because of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, the store will not be hosting a traditional grand-opening celebration. They will be limiting the number of guests in the building at one time, as well as practicing six-foot spacing at check-out lines and other common coronavirus retail protocols that have become standard, like plexiglass shields and face mask usage. The new REI store is also offering contactless pick-up options if you'd prefer to order online and grab your stuff in the parking lot.

Credit: REI

This Billings REI is located at 711 Henry Chapple Street (near the corner of Shiloh and King Avenue) and is open 10 to 6 daily. This is their third Montana location, with other stores in Bozeman and Missoula. REI plans to donate $10,000 to local charities and in 2019 REI invested $73,000 in local outdoor nonprofits in Montana. The Billings store employs 42 people.