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Another distinctive set of store door handles presented themselves. . . Who knew that "branding" would so often go right down to a store's door handles? Yes, that IS a real ice ax encased in resin, and when grasped and pulled it will give you entrance to the flagship store of REI Co-op (Recreation Equipment, Inc.), the outdoor activities enthusiast's paradise located in the Cascade/South Lake Union neighborhood. This store is remarkable and really worth seeing if you are visiting Seattle. REI began as a humble mountaineering gear buying coop and expanded over the years, first to Berkeley, CA, and then to many other sites. It is one of those household names like Boeing, Starbucks, Alaska Airlines, Nordstrom, Microsoft, and Amazon.com that has its roots in Seattle.