MEC to be acquired by private US investment firm.
I’ve been a member since the early '90’s. I haven’t bothered shopping there in a couple of years. The quality of service, staff knowledge and quality of products had fallen off the end of a table. The focus seemed to shift from providing quality outdoor gear, to more of a boutique, urban outdoor lifestyle fashion.
I don’t shop there as much these days, but it was a good place to go for non-bike stuff like kayaking, hiking, etc. But you’re right, Slider, they do seem to have shifted from a proper co-op to a more corporate model. It seems that didn’t bode well with their core demographic.
I’ve only bought stuff there on two occasions. Back in 1998 I got some panaracer smoke/darts when I was in Ottawa for the mtb nationals and three years ago I needed a USB key for zwift and their price was less than the wholesale from our supplier. When I went in I thought that the Halifax store looked like the merchandiser threw up on the wall.
I’m not much of a consumer so I don’t think that I will be missing it, obviously.
I was pretty disappointed to hear about this. I don’t shop there a ton anymore, but have grown up with it. My very first backpack came from MEC when all we could do on the east coast was order it via mail from out west. What is perhaps most unfortunate about this, is that it showed all the ‘share holders’ that they weren’t nearly as valuable as they had always been told. I have been voting in AGMS and for the election of boards for a long time, and then the first I hear of an acquisition is from CBC? Oh well…I better get a big fat cheque to buy out my share
I’m still using one of their tents. Awesome tent!
However, like most, I haven’t really shopped there in the past couple of years.
I used to shop there much more when they were a little more focused. No running, yoga, and yes boutique stuff. Before I heard they were in financial trouble I was commenting to my wife that their prices were no longer competitive and that I would much rather shop locally if I could.
I still shop there, but not often. I usually have to order online to get what I want. Their own branded products have gone way downhill. My dry bags fail on long canoe trips and their clothing does not last compared to the same item by Sugoi for example. I’ll never buy MEC brand again. Unfortunately there is not a good local alternative store to shop in, except in Fredericton. Therefor I’m on the fence about this.
I used to work at MEC many many years ago. They were fantastic employers, very supportive, training was very thorough and they were extremely keen on encouraging us to make use of the products we sold. We had many great staff teambuilding/training climbing/hiking/camping/kayaking trips. Staff parties were legendary.They had a very solid employee demo program and gear financing. They were fantastic about allowing staff leaving for extending periods to pursue travel/adventure/schooling and hiring them back on when they returned. There was no commission or sales bonuses and so I had many opportunities (and full management support) to steer a customer away from a product with extraneous features/cost to get them what best suited them, as well as send them to other local stores (and calling ahead)in the area if we didn’t have what they needed.
They also walked the talk as well or better as any consumer driven organization could in terms or green and social initiatives and ethical products sourcing-making surprise visits to they’re overseas factories to assess worker conditions and in some cases deciding to no longer partner with certain brands that weren’t meeting standards.
however around the same time I was moving on, you could sense the change that was happening- the board of directors were starting to pursue more and more the myth of growth, and they were catering more to urban fashions/lifestyles. Too many products/clothing lines and turnover. I think they alienated the core members in doing this.
Sad to see this happen to what in my mind is a Canadian icon.
I agree. It was a great place to shop, they gave back to local projects and I could return a backpack with a messed up zipper five years after I bought it. You won’t find service like that everywhere.
I hope they don’t close the Halifax location.
I’ve enjoyed shopping there. My issue was location. Even when I lived on the peninsula, it was a hassle getting in and out of downtown, and then parking. There is of course, the parking garage across the street, but sometimes you’d have to drive around and around for a parking spot, and I hate paying for parking. When I lived on the peninsula I could bike there, but that did limit the size of my purchases if I want to carry it on the bike. Now, if I want to shop there, it’s quite a project, getting on and off the peninsula, especially with construction this summer.
MEC is really good for educating the broader public on anything outdoor related. And hopefully it stays that way. A lot of us take for granted how easy it is to just go into the woods or hop on a road bike and let things play out. The dynamic with respect to Canadian culture is becoming vast and without this Education piece the future will be bleak.
I have had nothing but good experiences dealing with the Halifax shop, and their online and telephone purchasing is solid.
Hopefully it doesnt turn into another “atmosphere” type store.