Eastern Mountain Sports

  www.ems.com
  www.ems.com
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Eastern Mountain Sports Reviews

Updated September 2, 2014
Updated September 2, 2014
74 Reviews
2.7
74 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Mark Walsh
1 Rating

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Staff are routinely offered great discounts on in-store products (in 7 reviews)

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


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  • Low pay, understaffed, inefficient/outdated computer systems, typical disconnect between cooperate and stores (in 7 reviews)

  • While this might be fine for seasonal and part time employees, for full time people it borders on insulting (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    EMS- Be Wary

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Store Manager  in  New Haven, CT
    Former Employee - Assistant Store Manager in New Haven, CT

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    You will be surrounded by good people, for the most part. Not everyone has the same experience, as some stores have more jaded employees than do others. Its a straight-forward job, and expectations are clearly set. Good product discount opportunities, if you are so inclined.

    If you have aptitude and energy, you will be considered for advancement. Internal candidates are generally preferred and encouraged over outside hires. There usually are opportunities for advancement, but not past the position of store manager.

    Benefits include a great medical-dental-vision plan, with the usual extras. Full-time management gets a good amount of vacation time (assuming there is adequate staffing to cover your time off).

    Cons

    Upper management has struggled to reconcile payroll issues, and as a result many stores are seriously under-staffed, and over-tasked. The company is in transition, and as a result has lost much of its core following, both staff and customers. Questions persist regarding exactly where the brand is headed. Hopefully in another year many of the issues are solved, the past year has been eventful for all the wrong reasons.

    Retail salaries are average. Nothing to write home about unless you are a manager of a high-volume store, but then you will be living in your store...

    Customers in certain markets can be a challenge, and the return/exchange policies need to clarified. EMS has a rewards program which is the thorn in the side of most every employee. There are certain levels of signups that staff must reach, and it can become stressful and irritating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Produce better EMS brand clothing, it is lacking in style and fit.
    Advertising is uninspiring and not competitive.
    Buy into more relevant brands/products
    Set a return policy that is more stringent

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    If you work here, it should be for gear, not money

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Foot Guru/Guide  in  Carle Place, NY
    Former Employee - Foot Guru/Guide in Carle Place, NY

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Pro deals can get you up to 70% off of expensive gear
    -The community is nice
    -Most people who work here know the gear very well, so you can learn a lot

    Cons

    -The pay is abysmal.
    -The companies management is bad.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Actually stock more brands relevant to the idea of the store (Sperrys are not really a hiking shoe, ect)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    Absolute Nightmare. Stay VERY far away!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Store Manager  in  Newton, MA
    Former Employee - Store Manager in Newton, MA

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Co-workers are amazing. Met some people I will keep in touch with for life.

    Cons

    Way too many to list. The days of the old EMS are gone. The new parent company (Versa) really has no sense of direction or identity. Consider them the Walmart of outdoor stores. Additionally, they constantly run stores with no payroll. Meaning, 2 people to cover a 10k square foot store at times! Then they're all over you when shrink numbers are high!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper management is a disaster. The leadership and direction are changing by the minute. A project you start today most likely won't be finished since they'll have you working on the next one within hours. (in the opposite direction)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    A great way to get into the outdoor industry.

    • 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 full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    A fun place to work if you enjoy getting outside. Employees get great discounts on gear and clothing. Most employees seem to care a bit more about their jobs than in your typical retail environment. People will notice if you're willing to put that extra effort in and it won't take long before opportunities to move up are presented. Many past employees have used their experiences working at EMS to get into other areas of the outdoor industry.

    Cons

    The new owners are changing the company, but it seems like the only thing that's improving is their bottom line (maybe). All of the stores are understaffed at the moment due to significant cuts in payroll, which can lead to projects not being completed or customers not being sufficiently helped. This company's reputation was built on the great customer service that it used to provide, but it seems like the new owners are less concerned about that these days. There has been a significant amount of turnover in management in the retail stores over the past year or so. If that isn't a red flag to Vestis about how they are running things, then I don't know what is.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Realize that we are more than just an apparel store (like Bob's) and that having a well-staffed sales floor will help increase sales, not to mention the stores will look better overall.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Great people, great atmosphere

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Guide  in  Portland, ME
    Former Employee - Guide in Portland, ME

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Laid back environment. Worked with like minded people who love the environment and had positive energy. Looked forward to work everyday.

    Cons

    Management was lacking. There was some disconnect from corporate down to the store level. Lack of communication higher up.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    Lacks leadership and a commitment to their employees

    • 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 full-time

    Pros

    The employees are passionate about the outdoors so the products in the stores are tried and true. The employees are also compassionate toward each other and working with them has felt like a real team effort BUT it's changing quickly for the worse with the new management.

    Cons

    Some highlights of the last year at EMS:

    A long time factory partner of ours dropped us for failure to pay our bills.
    Vendors have put us on credit hold for the same reason.

    Our CEO was hired and then fired 9 months later.
    Our VP of Marketing quit after less than 6 months on the job.
    Our VP of Store Planning quit after 2 months on the job. Then our Merchandise Planner quit.
    Our VP of Human Resources quit.
    Our Head of Technical Design quit.
    4 out of 5 Product Managers quit.
    Countless others have quit. Someone leaves nearly every week.

    VP's have the power to affect change so why are they leaving? Maybe they didn't like the direction EMS was headed? Maybe they lacked the resources and support to do the job? Maybe the magnitude of the problems became clearer the longer they were on the job? Either way, it's not a good sign when your VP's are jumping ship at such a fast rate.

    The new leadership is sorely lacking. They don't value their employees. They have not been transparent. They haven't done what they said they would do. Few employees have any confidence or trust in the current leadership.

    EMS has been stripped to the bare minimum (It's that corporate shell game of reducing overhead to appear profitable). As people flee from EMS, they are not being replaced and as a result EVERY PROCESS IS BROKEN. We spend our days in plugging holes, putting out fires, and slowing the bleed and it's systemic. Every single department is short staffed and lacks direction and leadership.

    The leadership has not shared any transition plans or an exit strategy from Peterborough NH to Meriden CT (where Bobs Stores are headquartered and to whom EMS was merged by Vestis, our parent company) but it's obvious they are not investing in the people of Peterborough. The lack of transparency is shameful and shows a lack of respect for their employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your employees are passionate about EMS and the outdoors. Had you truly valued them and invested in them, they would have followed you willingly. But you were too quick to dismiss the them when you purchased EMS and now you're left with a broken company.

    Position doesn't make you a leader. Being smart enough to show a profit doesn't make you a leader.

    So my advice to you is to hire leaders, the kind that inspire confidence, that create visions of success, that motivate others to follow.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Great environment with many like-minded staff. Flexible hours and very diverse customer base.

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

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The broad range of experience the store staff shared from skiing to climbing and kayaking. Beginners to expert but all very humble. Many "After work" gatherings to discuss trips, etc.

    Cons

    Pay was generally not in line with experience foe most of staff ( Manager was OVER paid)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop trying to create an "Abercrombie" style staff and don't go to the other extreme either.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Fun summer job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Guide  in  Stamford, CT
    Former Employee - Guide in Stamford, CT

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great culture, sense of excitement about the products we are selling, access to schools

    Cons

    Mobility from retail to corporate

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Great a better incentives program to isolate and promote true performers

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Floor Supervisor

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate  in  Middletown, RI
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Middletown, RI

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Fun place to work. Great teammates. Awesome discounts and promotional deals and if you're lucky you will have a great manager like I did.

    Cons

    Occasionally work with ego's, not such great pay, and a corporate structure that doesn't necessarily promote because of good performance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take advice from your manager's subordinates. Good chance that if the employees are unhappy its not because their manager is doing a great job.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    current conditions are terrible

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

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

    Pros

    generally you get to work with cool people who really care about being outdoors and want to share their passions, good discounts on gear, company is generous with sending you to get gear/outdoor experience through their schools program, personally speaking, the upper management at my store was excellent. my assistant manager and boss were wonderful people and ems really needs to thank their lucky stars that they have these people.

    Cons

    unfortunately, the cons to working at ems are lengthy. as it is now, this company should be embarrassed to call itself an outfitting company.

    most of the problems stem from corporate's decision to staff the stores at bare-minimum to save on payroll. guess what? you aren't saving money by staffing a couple less people a day. you're losing money because customers walk out of your store without a purchase. why do they do this? well i've witnessed more times than not that people come in wanting individualized attention to make a big purchase or get outfitted and either a) no one is available to help or b) the employee helping them is also doing 4 other things at once and it's too hard to get the attention they need from them so they walk out empty handed. this isn't rocket science. if anyone from corporate spent a day in an actual store they would see why there are problems.

    staffing this way greatly impacts employee training. as for myself, there was nothing formal. everything was done on the job in the same hectic environment that i've been speaking about above. if you thrive on being thrown to the wolves, this might work for you because no one will have any time to sit down with you and teach you how to do things. you'll learn as you go in 5 minute increments here and there, being put last if any customers need assistance from the person teaching you and you're left piecing what you learned together and coming up with your own way which is often wrong and will be explained to you why later. as a manager in the past, i would not dream of sending a new employee onto the floor without reading a company training manual or new hire booklet. don't expect that here. no lp training, no company standards overview, nothing at all. literally strap on your boots and hop into the fire at this place. works for some, not for others.

    other cons are the archaic computer system which is just laughable in this day and age, the lack of restock being sent to the floor (again, due to staffing), exceedingly high expectations for capturing customer information, the unnecessary secret shopper program, and the low pay which is insulting to put it best.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    the phase "this isn't another big box store" was uttered many times here and who are you fooling? you're nothing better than a dicks or bass pro shop or dare i say, walmart at times. why hire us only if we have extensive outdoor knowledge and then not provide us opportunities to share our information? quality care and time needs to be put into outfitting. it isn't meant to be done in under five minutes while also juggling a phone and cash register duty. you're wasting our talents. we have the ability to sell the product and our knowledge. customers WANT us to do this and EXPECT us to do it. let us do that by staffing the stores appropriately. you'll see that it increases sales and makes you money when we can take care of customers. don't be foolish and think shaving down the payroll is doing anything good for your company. its negative impact funnels directly from the employee to customer which results in less $$$, since that's all you corporate guys seem to care about these days.

    i would like to add, that for a company that boasts about loving the outdoors, the amount of paper and plastic waste is abhorrent. you should be ashamed.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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