Celebrating 75 years, Recreational Equipment Inc. has been a trusted retailer of outdoor gear since 1938. The company, which offers innovative, high-quality outdoor gear and apparel, is now the nation’s largest consumer co-op and continues to return the majority of profits to its members through annual member refunds, based on their purchases. Sales figures for 2012 have not been released yet, but after $1.65 billion in 2010 and $1.8 billion in 2011, we could be looking at almost $2 billion in annual sales.

REI Gear and Apparel is the private brand available only through REI, at stores and online. These products for camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, outdoor fitness, paddling, snow sports, and travel is sold along with other top brands. There are currently 127 REI stores in 31 U.S. states. Two new REI stores are scheduled to open this month in Oxnard, CA and Jacksonville, FL. There is also a new store which will open in fall 2013 in Overland Park, KS.

Recreational Equipment Inc. is known for its apparel and gear, but is also known for its work culture, as well as the many perks employees enjoy, such as deep discounts. REI ranked 8th on the 2012 list, and has been chosen for FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” every year since the magazine began compiling the list in 1998. At retail stores, REI employees are trained to give expert advice and teach educational clinics. And I know firsthand, they can answer any question you throw at them.

The Sporting Goods Retailers is headquartered in Kent, WA. REI, the only co-op on the list, ranked 6th the two previous years on Chain Store Guide’s Top Sporting Goods Specialty Stores list. REI appears in Chain Store Guide’s database of Apparel Specialty Stores where more information on Recreational Equipment Inc. can be found .