Eastern Mountain Sports

  www.ems.com
  www.ems.com

Eastern Mountain Sports Reviews

Updated November 15, 2014
Updated November 15, 2014
79 Reviews
2.9
79 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Mark Walsh
6 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  • Low pay, understaffed, inefficient/outdated computer systems, typical disconnect between cooperate and stores (in 7 reviews)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

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    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.

  2.  

    Company went through a transition but is coming out of it better and stronger!

    • 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

    Work life balance. Great loyal customers. Working with like minded people. Reorganized, supportive, positive senior management team! Great training and leadership. Recognition and appreciation for a job well done and room for advancement. A CEO that cares and listens and is bringing the company to a whole new level.

    Cons

    The company sincerely is doing their best to continue moving forward through the recent transition. Some great changes have come about and the kinks are still getting ironed out. Staffing and stock levels continue to get better.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Lost in the Woods of New Hampshire

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Peterborough, NH
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Peterborough, NH

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Pretty good work crew.

    Cons

    Main office was like working in a Barn, terrible unqualified management who favored friends, the longer you work their the better you become and being terrible at your job, no skills or training, and almost lost their best employees by promoting incompetent people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Move a side

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great In-Store Experiences Marred by Incompetency at Corporate Level

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

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

    Pros

    The people I met in store really kept me on board this company for so long. You meet some great friends inside and outside work that share a common love of the outdoors. Discounts are plentiful and often almost negated my paycheck -- but it was well worth it at the time, and really helps you be a better associate. Also, if you like the gear you're selling, going to work is really a pleasant experience from a customer interaction point of view. With regard to company interaction, that's a different story.

    Cons

    Schedules are produced last minute because corporate management is full of penny pincers. In response to poor store performance, they cut hours, only further reducing employee morale. Stores are chronically woefully understaffed. Employees are held to unrealistic standards in terms of rewards program capture rates, (of which EMS is already well above the national average) and this is the only means of employee evaluation. When it comes to pay, overtime, and overall outlook of retail teams, corporate language can be downright insulting. I recall a figure shared by multiple managers of mine (I had 3 in my 3 years there -- including a period of 6 months without a manager) that corporate estimated ~90% of company losses were due to employee theft, not shoplifting. 90%? That's downright insulting as a hard working employee, who has seen firsthand losses in the store due to shoplifting.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop waving rewards capture rates in employees faces while disrespecting them with unreasonably short scheduling time frames, call-in shifts, and low pay. After seeing the company takeover through and spending time under the new management, I saw almost a full turnover in my store staff, and horrendous decline in morale.

    Implement actual training procedures for new hires, and MANAGEMENT as well. During my last few weeks at EMS, my store brought on a new floor supervisor. On my last day, he thanked me, a 19-year old part timer, for being "one of the only ones who actually gave him any training around here." It blows my mind that a company can bring on new hires and leave the training process to store employees who share their product and company knowledge on the fly. All I did was help this poor guy out at the point of sale, walk him through returns, and walk the store with him giving him product basics. Where is the training plan? In my 3 years at EMS, it was always trial-by-fire, all the way up to management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    New management is completely incompetent

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Peterborough, NH
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Peterborough, NH

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports full-time

    Pros

    Main office was in a great location in small town New England close to lots of outdoors activities all year round. This will soon end as the building is for sale and it is only a matter of time before what is left of the main office is moved to the Bob's headquarters in CT.

    Cons

    Very long list...
    Management is all from Bob's discount stores, no idea how to run a business, even less of how to run an outdoor retailer. Don't be fooled by what EMS was in the past, it is no longer a passionate outdoor shop but a hollow shell. There are still some great people that work there but none in management and almost all are looking to leave. If you love the outdoors and want a job at retail try Old Navy or Home Depot at least that way you won't be disappointed when you discover that NO ONE in management is at all interested in outdoor activities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fire yourselves. If Bob's were a huge business success it is possible that changing EMS's direction to cater to discount driven customers instead of people that actually use outdoor gear might make sense but Bob's is pathetic and EMS is heading in the same direction.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 4 people 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 (more than an 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
  8. 7 people found this helpful  

    CEO is a duche bag....company has gone to hell!!

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

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    2012 company culture and promises of a marque store opening made EMS to good to not join. So I Took a twenty K pay cut to join the team.
    As store manager there were great opportunities for training in cool locations; white mountains, Gunks, mount Washington, Chesapeake, for climbing, kayaking, paddle board, camping with the coolest group of people from the Peterborough basecamp.
    Originally felt appreciated with all of the focus on expanding my expertise in the outdoors and all the free gear.

    Cons

    Once Vestis came in, it all went to hell quick.
    Product quality dropped, stock levels fell, core product lines ceased to exist, corporate values changed, mass exodus of key management, labor budget cut in half.
    When Will Manzer left a value for the employees left EMS.
    Here is my issue with EMS in a nut shell, cause I could write an entire book:
    New CEO walks in my store and tells me we should repackage our returned climbing gear and sell it as new.....I walked away bitting my tongue. Industry standard is that all climbing gear, once it leaves a store, can not be resold due to your inability to view with the naked eye or machine, how much wear or fatigue it has been through. Besides being unbelievably unethical, it is unbelievably unsafe!
    He later in his visit told me that I spend to much time with my customers!
    EMS as a brand was built on the talent of its staff to "outfit" guests. That is what differentiates EMS from competitors who have greater selection and better prices. I was told that we are no longer an outfitter. It's more important to get shipment processed to the floor than spend time with customers. Oh yeah, heard CEO D-bag was fired..sure HR had some serious clean up over that.
    The "Bob's" mentality for retail (Vestis) is to put out boxes of merchandise and wring up sales, no customer interaction or product knowledge needed. This practice in the outdoor industry will ruin the outdoor experience for most (one sale Vs. life time of sales) and is extremely dangerous. We sell flotation devices, flammable gasses and knives. It is grossly irresponsible of EMS to not spend time with these potential consumers explaining the safest usage of this gear.
    I submitted a payroll to sales analysis to my district manager explaining how an extra $7.50 an hour in labor could equate to a growth in sales, and as a company philosophy, could show substantial profitability....I was fired within a week for poor attitude

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    EMS was once a true outdoor retailer that believed in championing the outdoor experience. Staffing it's stores with local outdoor experts who could truly outfit a guest with a valued selection of gear for the adventures in front of them. Now, staffing is at such a low level, these once great ambassadors of the brand are reduced to stocking shelves and hounding guests for their email address at the point of sale. Forget adding valuable knowledge and building a relationship of trust with your customers, you are not allotted time for that.
    The EMS brand is dead. Within three years, EMS will only exist as a logo on crappy outdoor gear in a handful of big box outdoor retailers and in the memories of those of us who were lucky enough to see it before the fall of Rome.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    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 (more than an 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
  10. 6 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 (less than an 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
  11. 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 (more than an 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

Work at Eastern Mountain Sports? Share Your Experiences

Eastern Mountain Sports

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.