REI co-founder Mary Anderson dies at 107

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SEATTLE — Mary Anderson, a former school teacher and climbing enthusiast who helped start outdoor retailer REI in 1938, has died at the age of 107.

According to our news partner The Seattle Times, REI says she died March 27.

Anderson and her husband Lloyd, along with other mountaineering friends, started the consumer cooperative out of a desire to find high-quality, affordable climbing gear. By forming a cooperative, they were able to buy outdoor gear in bulk from Europe and other places.

REI, headquartered south of Seattle, has grown to become the nation’s largest consumer-owned retail co-op with about 6.3 million active members, more than 140 retail stores and about 12,000 employees.

The company said in a statement that Anderson’s “legacy is deeply engrained in REI and her contributions to the outdoor community extend far beyond the co-op.”

She retired from REI in 1968.

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