Eastern Mountain Sports Reviews | Glassdoor

Eastern Mountain Sports Reviews

Updated February 18, 2017
145 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.0
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Mark Walsh
31 Ratings

145 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Pro-deals on outdoor goods are excellent, great opportunity to learn new outdoor sports and share the passion for the outdoors (in 13 reviews)

  • The great discounts can't be beat (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • If you go for Part Time make sure it is (in 13 reviews)

  • Low pay, little/no room for career growth, and issues with being bought out by vestas (in 13 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Changes not for the better"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Eastern Mountain Sports full-time

    Pros

    Love my coworkers and the job itself

    Cons

    Health insurance went up $400 a month for my family and it is not affordable anymore


  2. "Former Assistant Manager"

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

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great like-minded people on the store level, and occasionally wonderful customer that saves an otherwise crappy day. It's on the better end of retail, but is obviously still retail.

    Cons

    There seems to always be an opportunity to move up inside of the store structure, but the transition to the corporate team is difficult if not impossible. You may come for your love of the outdoors, but find yourself watching other people live out those cool dreams/adventures instead.

    Advice to Management

    You hire great people, who often get stuck in the middle of the company with nowhere to go. Try to divide equal focus between EMS and Bobs. And trust in your employees. Give them an opportunity to shine above the store level, you'd be surprised what they're capable of.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Became too robotic..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time

    Pros

    Originally I had a fantastic boss who really looked out for her employees. She was able to teach me about all the merchandise we sold. Great staff.

    Cons

    It became super corporate and we had to give speeches to customers. It is also solely retail - we no longer had kayaks or bikes or anything people were looking for when they'd go into the store.

    Advice to Management

    Revert back to original EMS - put back the bike shop, kayaks, etc... that's what EMS was originally about and now it's solely retail and half the stores went out of business!


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  5. "Senior Consultant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great. No complaint. Good job.

    Cons

    Great. No complaints. good job.

    Advice to Management

    No Advice to management.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Fun, but terrible"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time

    Pros

    Prodeals, its fun if you are a gear head. Most of the staff is cool and fun.

    Cons

    -Employee discount is often equal to the sales available to customers.
    -Once in a while the sales are even better than your discount, but you arnt eligible for them as an employee.
    -management at a corporate level suffers from High School level drama.
    -upper management is collectively shady (some of these better reviews are fake and posted by current management.)
    -Being employed by EMS means you forfeit the ability to return anything purchased from there. like ever.
    -you deal with just as many disgruntled customers as happy ones. People come in all day complaining about or with conflicting info from customer service.
    -cut corners every chance

    Advice to Management

    replace yourselves, or take a hint form your competitors


  7. "Store Guide"

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

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports part-time

    Pros

    Laid back culture, flexible hours, good people to work with. Easy to meet objectives and goals as member of team

    Cons

    Quality of goods is decreasing every year, while prices are increasing, increase of use of apparel instead of high quality gear.

    Advice to Management

    Go back to the reason why people respected EMS in the first place. High quality gear at good prices, not cheaply made apparel for exorbitant prices.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Gone is the EMS of Past"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Store Guide (New Hampshire) in Meriden, CT
    Current Employee - Store Guide (New Hampshire) in Meriden, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    EMS is known throughout the Mid Atlantic and Northeast as a purveyor of camping, hiking, climbing, kayaking/SUPing, biking, and other various outdoor traveling goods. Each store is a close-knit community and the store management is one for which you want to work. I would follow my current manager, who has been managing our store for over 10 years, anywhere. You learn from each other and develop great networks and relationships.

    Cons

    In 2012, EMS was purchased by Vestis Retail Group (also the owner of Bob's Stores and in 2014, the owner of west-coast based Sports Chalet, now defunct) as EMS was struggling to stay afloat and was rumored to be weeks away from insolvency. Had Vestis and its capital management parent company, Versa Capital, stuck with only Bob's and EMS, the company would be in a greatly different situation; unfortunately, someone or a group in either Vestis or Versa corporate decided to buy Sports Chalet for $17M and over $50 in debt. Needless to say, come the summer of 2016, Vestis filed for Chapter 11 reorganization and shuttered Sports Chalet, 7 EMS locations and 1 Bob's location. The company has since come out of reorganization proceedings and goods and receipts have begun to flow back into stores, albeit without some notable brands (La Sportiva and Sea to Summit to name two major ones).

    The biggest issue with the current iteration of EMS is that it appears to become a discount retail chain with little store culture and vibe. Eastern Mountain Sports used to run community clinics and events, sponsor athletes and other groups, and do other excellent promotions. Those days are gone as are those budget lines. Now when you walk into the stores, nearly everything is on sale (even recent receipts). Vestis (now Eastern Outfitters after the bankruptcy) employees receive 35% off national brands and clearance items and 50% off EMS brands, and are unable to use coupons or discounts (which is typical in retail), even if purchasing items without their discount (less typical). That beg said customers may often find better deals than employees get with their discounts.

    In late 2015, Vestis launched a new POS system which was supposed to bring order processing up to current technology. But the systems are clunky and are not user friendly. IT is slow to react to most issues (as they are flooded with problems) and all transactions must now be done in person (no more reserving rentals over the phone or placing orders from another store with a credit card over the phone, supposedly due to new PCI compliance, but if this was true, why can LL Bean still do mail order over the phone?).

    The company has lost its vision for EMS and has become the red headed step child clone of Bob's Stores.

    Advice to Management

    Retool what EMS looks like to consumers and ween them off of heavily discounted items. When you walk into an REI, things are rarely on sale, and customers have come to expect that. As REI begins to move further into the Northeast (with a planned store to come in Manchester, NH), EMS will struggle to compete with a better stocked store with more options. You've lost focus with what EMS should be; fix it before it really is too late! Take the opinions and thoughts from your employees in the stores and on the front lines and less from what your corporate office says.


  9. "Like everything else, there are pros and cons working here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Most people are awesome (customers and staff), great discounts, unpredictable tasks and schedule which makes the day exciting.

    Cons

    Corporate takes away resources and expect you to do more and more. It was very hard to take a break here. You can be starving, but they don't give you enough coverage to take a break, and since customers always come first, you come last. Promotion is random - I've seen horrible people get promoted, I've seen great people get promoted...you can work hard and be a great employee, but they'll hold you back depending on who's in charge at the time. I've seen it too many times. I saw them fire a wonderful employee who in my opinion was one of the best at a particular store. Then they hired some who were incompetent. Every week we'd get new signage. The amount of mistakes that were on them, and the amount of time and money spent to overnight new signage was insane. If I made those mistakes 1, maybe 2 times at another job, I'd be fired. Why are those costly mistakes still happening? It's just unacceptable. There's a lot of backstabbing and people talking about management and the faults of the company. Truthfully, I never ever talked about this while I worked there. I always talked positively and went with the flow. The problems do exist, but if you choose to work there, you have to be a positive face for the customers, so hire people with a can-do, positive attitude. It's two-fold though, so management, shape up so people don't feel the need to complain so much.

    Advice to Management

    Get your act together. Stop allowing the same mistakes to happen over and over. Stop taking resources away from employees.


  10. "good benefits, poor pay and management."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Store Manager in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Assistant Store Manager in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    good benefits, nice pro deals on outdoor goods, flexible schedule

    Cons

    poor management, already having to close down stores.

    Advice to Management

    focus on customers and the internet. that means buying the right products.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Had It's Thorns, But It Was A Rewarding Job"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Guide (Sales Associate)
    Former Employee - Guide (Sales Associate)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    One word: Coworkers. My fellow colleagues (guides) and store management were excellent. I dare to say outstanding. They were truly awesome. Mostly knowledgable. Often determined. Always passionate about the outdoors. Most cared about the customers. Also, enjoyed the work environment. Loved the flexibility, but I learned that was unique to our store. Can't complain about the benefits...

    Cons

    Company vision. All about big data. EMS has lost it's small store charm in favor of corporate retail.

    Advice to Management

    Flexibility is the key to air power. Outdoor market is a unique retail market. Up the online presence.



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