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9/14/2020 7:47 pm  #1


MEC bought by a US private equity firm

In financial trouble for some time, Mountain Equipment Co-op ("MEC" -  arguably Canada's largest outdoor goods retailer) has entered bankruptcy to reorganize. MEC has been bought by a US private equity firm, and will no longer be a co-op. A MEC representative told the Toronto Star that they will try to keep at least 17 stores open (out of approx 22).

I was in the Toronto store just yesterday, and the stock levels were....abysmal.  So, no surprise at this news.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7334603/mountain-equipment-coop-sold/

 

9/15/2020 8:57 am  #2


Re: MEC bought by a US private equity firm

No surprise here, get woke = go broke.

As much as I used to like MEC in the beginning of my camping career, it didn't take long to realize there are equal or better options & quality out there, sometimes less, sometimes more. Altitude in Quebec has done a fantastic job at filling the MEC void - and they give their members a discount, as opposed to ... you know.. nothing. Atmosphere is also a great place for gear.

 

9/15/2020 11:57 am  #3


Re: MEC bought by a US private equity firm

MEC used to give a 5% cash or debit discount. That was nice.

I’ve switched almost entirely to altitude. I like them a lot. Along with their sister site thelasthunt which offers all the close out stuff at occasionally incredible discounts.

Sport check can be good too as they often do 25% off everything in store. I got a bunch of MSR fuel canisters earlier this year for40% off. Stockpiled them.

 

9/15/2020 12:19 pm  #4


Re: MEC bought by a US private equity firm

Yeah, my current gore tex North Face 3-in-1 all season coat was through TheLastHunt. The price was so good, I did a fair bit of legwork checking if they were legit before making the online order.

Who knows how MEC will evolve now. I'm fully expect it was bought for the brand. Odds are it will further morph in the high volume urban outdoor fashion direction. Hopefully not as bad as Eddie Bauer did. 

The good news, at least for Ontario, is that there is still a strong group of independent outdoor retailers including Algonquin Outfitters, Adventure Guide (Waterloo), Sojourn (Barrie), Wildrock (Peterborough), Trailhead (Ottawa), and others. 

I'm still surprised that the news reports are saying the deal is final. Normally an offer to purchase a corporation would require shareholder, not just board, approval and MEC is structured as a corporation. [Edit: Someone clarified for me that the MEC memberships are non-voting shares of the corporation. Members get to vote for the board of directors, but only the board of directors have voting privileges for the corporation. ]
 

Last edited by RobW (9/15/2020 1:53 pm)

 

9/15/2020 12:19 pm  #5


Re: MEC bought by a US private equity firm

Jdbonney wrote:

I’ve switched almost entirely to altitude. I like them a lot. Along with their sister site thelasthunt which offers all the close out stuff at occasionally incredible discounts.

100% this.

 

9/15/2020 5:52 pm  #6


Re: MEC bought by a US private equity firm

I live across the street from MEC here in Ottawa so it’s stayed my primary spot thanks to the convenience. That’s about the only reason though. The prices have been too high for a while and, at least at the Ottawa location, I haven’t been blown away by the customer service. That being said, we bought our 6 man tent from Atmosphere this summer and the price was great. Haven’t tried  thelasthunt but looking forward to soon. Basically, this is a long winded way of saying I’m not too bummed out by this news.

 

9/16/2020 6:43 am  #7


Re: MEC bought by a US private equity firm

Outdoor/recreation is a difficult market to make a living.  The variety required based upon the various sports that are now included means you either need a massive store to adequately cover it all or specialized small stores to focus on one aspect.  The market had a substantial consolidation south of the border when Cabela's was bought by Bass Pro - but their reach, like any massive footprint store, is very limited by population/location with many geographic areas under-serviced.  The internet availability of products has made this even more difficult to get a start without specializing.  

 

9/16/2020 8:37 am  #8


Re: MEC bought by a US private equity firm

MEC will not go away me thinks but will be re-tooled to compete with the online stores. MEC brand is still strong and is likely one of the main reasons it was acquired out of CCAA. In a year where it seems everyone was out trying camping the store is well positioned to make a comeback. 
@Algonquinlakes this could likely mean that MEC is soon gone from the high rent location across from you and into a location similar to SAIL or Cabelas.

 

Yesterday 12:33 pm  #9


Re: MEC bought by a US private equity firm

Peek wrote:

Jdbonney wrote:

I’ve switched almost entirely to altitude. I like them a lot. Along with their sister site thelasthunt which offers all the close out stuff at occasionally incredible discounts.

100% this.

 
Sadly I’ve noticed 2 changes this week at altitude. Neither are earth shattering but could be a sign of death by a thousand cuts.

1) previously when you ordered something you got a return mailing letter in the bag that you could send the item back. No questions asked. They have stopped this, you now have to logon to the website and print out a return mailer along with provide a reason.

2) a few times a year they offer the chance to donate $15 to a charity and they give you some store credit. Previously if you had store credit you could use it to make the donation and get more store credit. I get why they would stop that but it is just another change that is against the customer.

Hopefully there aren’t anymore as I really do like the company.

 

Board footera

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