Eastern Mountain Sports

www.ems.com
Employer Engaged

Eastern Mountain Sports Reviews

Updated February 18, 2015
Updated February 18, 2015
87 Reviews
2.8
87 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Mark Walsh
9 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • This company offers great discounts and deals to it's employees (in 7 reviews)

  • Employees get great discounts on gear and clothing (in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • The issue is just how much they focus on the rewards program (in 7 reviews)

  • Low pay, understaffed, inefficient/outdated computer systems, typical disconnect between cooperate and stores (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Rewarding PT Sales Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Guide in Philadelphia, PA
    Current Employee - Guide in Philadelphia, PA

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    I had a good experience working at EMS during college. They had a friendly work environment, good sales training through use of clinics and vendor visits, and challenged my fellow associates and I with making sales and engaging customers.

    Cons

    Not a whole lot to say here. As far as part time jobs go, this was a good one.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think we had too many sales and discounts. In the end, I think it devalued the product, specifically the private label merchandise. I think we could have commanded a better overall gross profit if we sold slightly higher quality & higher price private label merch at a slightly lower initial GPM, but with less sales promotion as the season carried on.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Not anywhere near what EMS was or should be.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Guide in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Guide in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports

    Pros

    Interacting with customers, generous discount, enjoyable work associates.

    Cons

    Over-emphasis in the rewards program. Constant focus and daily "scoring" on how many new sign-ups and current members. Sales are ongoing and confusing for Guides and customers alike. Almost "bait and switch" this irritates many customers. Storewide clearance 50% off with the tiny words "up to" is misleading.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This market segment is very competitive. Customers expect knowledgeable sales people that "walk the walk" you don't get that with low salaries and heavy turn over. Most employees are here while waiting for something better. Understaffing keeps all tasks in catch up mode. All this and still "secret shopped" if that's the scorecard used to see how well we are doing, it is a false sense of quality. What is paid to get a company to secret shop? Use the money for something more important.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Decent retail job visibly mismanaged by corporate.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Guide
    Current Employee - Guide

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great perks. You get discounts on all gear, pro deals and can potentially ski free in some locations (!!).

    At my location the coworkers are mostly chill and the management team is friendly and professional. All the vets seem to be genuinely enthusiastic, and the managers are quite knowledgeable.

    Cons

    It's very hard to become a full time employee, and aside from customer capture rates, management doesn't seem to care about your performance. It's easy to become apathetic in this environment.

    It looks like the business model is more trending towards a 'lots of low-cost, mediocre workers' strategy rather than a tight-knit, full time and high-cost core. This strategy means pay is low, full time with benifits is hard to come by, and there are 13+ other employees on staff that can easily replace you. It's rarely rewarding to work in this environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I've only worked here a couple months, but I'm about to leave for a job with an actual career path, so here are my first impressions:

    I actually think the capture program is fine, but management's preoccupation with it is ridiculous. Literally the only feedback I get is how well I'm doing in the captures. A little more focus/recognition on gear knowledge, customer conversion, and basic customer service would go a long way.

    EMS touts itself as a company whose foundation lies in customer service. Words like 'foot guru' and 'outfitter' are thrown around, but if you want actual gurus in your foot department, you need to reward good service by offering full-time hours with competitive pay. That will cost more, so you need to adopt a more 'core-family' style employee system instead of a bunch of dispensible drones. Otherwise, you're going to be stuck with the seasonal high schoolers, and 'guru' is going to be a joke.

    Last nitpick I have is, remove the ambiguous 'Sale' signs over random islands/walls. 6/10 customers just get annoyed when they think all the items are on sale, but find out it's just a specific shirt or something.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great for part time work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports

    Pros

    I love the people I work with and generally the type of people who shop there. It's always fun to discuss what you love to do outside and what you need to make it happen!

    Cons

    Since the company was bought by Vestis about 2 years ago, the overall feel of the company has changed, seen even by part time employees. Management is set with unrealistic expectations by corporate who knows so little about how the store runs day to day and what really needs to happen. We are reviewed by secret shoppers and always pushed to get customers to sign up for the rewards. I understand these are things meant to improve business, but it's not always helpful. Some firing decisions by the new company have been questionable.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Fun yet frustrating

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Floor Supervisor in Hartford, CT
    Current Employee - Floor Supervisor in Hartford, CT

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great like-minded staff, great customers over all, discounts and access to gear is incredible, training is unbeatable in the industry. incredible work/life balance.

    Cons

    The pay is utterly offensive, difficult to move up/lack of support for growth

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    stop hiring from outside our company, we employ great people that just need an opportunity to shine. It's really embarrassing when a member of management of a store cant talk basics about any gear.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great for discounts and benefits, not a viable option to make a living

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Guide in Salem, NH
    Current Employee - Guide in Salem, NH

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports

    Pros

    I took this job at a time when I needed it and it helped provide some solid footing. It was great for meeting people and gear discounts. It was also a fun job and there were other perks with mountain resorts, etc

    Cons

    The hourly pay is low. I started during the holiday season as a temporary employee and was never really sure about my overall status but gradually got more comfortable over time and I stayed on for about 6 months. Basically just low pay and monotonous retail work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Better pay, better advancement opportunities, etc

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    November 7, 2014 review

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports

    Pros

    Good benefits and employee discounts. A great team of people to work with. Personnel who know the product with knowledge, and the passion of the outdoors.

    Cons

    That review on November 7th made me sick! It was so sugar coated it stinks! That could not have been the words of a employee. Not one employee in EMS even thinks that way now.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management needs to be a reconsideration of the pay policies at EMS! From personal experience I have had a measly $.25 raise in the past 8 or so years. This is no way to treat an employee without getting animosity! This includes no increases due to minimum wage raises, bringing minimum wage even closer to our wages.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    EMS

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Bike Technician
    Current Employee - Bike Technician

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Nice people, pretty chill work environment. Good discount on clothing/gear. Relaxed attire policy.

    Cons

    Corporate is completely out of touch with store-level management. Corporate policies handcuff store-level team leaders from using creativity within their unique retail environments. Vestis sucks, & their chain store mentality is slowly killing the individualized customer service magic which used to set EMS apart from other outdoor retailers. Slow, almost non-existent response to employee feedback/requests.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop shackling team leaders with your corporate policy BS & give them the freedom to manage their stores independently based on their own specific retail environments (mall, plaza, standalone building, etc.). Don't take a month to hire someone who should've been working a week after applying for the position!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    'Fistus' Retail group/Bob's bottom dollar discount outdoor mart

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Floor Guide
    Current Employee - Floor Guide

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports

    Pros

    Discount, pro deals, some cool coworkers but turnover will take care of that

    Cons

    I read all of the negative reviews, and I cannot find fault with anything that has been written about how this company is being run at the corporate level. They are pursuing a race to the bottom strategy that will take the company to the bottom.

    I give them 12 to 18 months, then they ('Fistus' cause we'll 'Fistu' retail) will really feel the effects of employee turnover, terrible merchandising, foolish discounting and terribly mismanaged rewards program. Customers walk out the door because there's literally no way shortstaffed stores can help.

    When I'm done working for EMS, I don't think I'll set forth in another EMS store again, just like I don't buy junk at Bob's stores. I'll continue to do my gear shopping at REI and online.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    RE: Versa/vestis/Bob's - You're going to get exactly what you deserve running the company this way, crap.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    The best outdoor company to work for!

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports

    Pros

    I love going into work everyday! Amazing co workers and benifits. A company that cares about it's people, offers great training and family life balance (plenty of time to get outside and play). CEO genuinely cares about the well being of the employees and their happiness.

    Cons

    Limited staffing can be a challenge. Major upgrades are in the works. With the recent acquisitions the future looks bright for the company. I am happy the be part of the change

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Thank you for continuing to move in a positive direction and letting employees have a voice.

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