Canadian Money Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,608 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Sad developments. MEC had been struggling before COVID, but the pandemic really pushed the retailer over the edge. They became insolvent, and under CCAA, are being acquired by Kingswood Capital, a California-based private equity firm.


It's sad because MEC has been so vital for outdoors enthusiasts. Just about all of my best equipment is from MEC. Backpacks, travel gear, bike equipment.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but PE firms like this one tend to specialize in restructuring and tearing up assets and I don't think they will be interested in operating a retailer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,003 Posts
Matters, but typically they replace the management.

The thing is that MEC went bankrupt, due to poor management.
They really embraced the Social Justice/"Woke" garbage, and not surprisingly collapsed. They told large numbers of customers they didn't want their business, and stopped stocking product for political reasons.
Don't worry, I'm sure the CEO and executive team will get good buyouts, and never be held accountable for their irresponsible choices.

If they actually close the stores, I'll be disappointed, the closest SAIL is quite a distance.

Bass pro and altitude really don't measure up to MEC.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
446 Posts
Oh, that may just be a coincidence or it may explain why there was almost nothing in store when I went to MEC last weekend, then I went to SAIL and found much more choices. Thanks for the news. That's sad for MEC...

It may be poor management... People have nowhere to go except outdoors activities (BRP is thriving) so I'm wondering why MEC was struggling. Poor supply chain maybe?

I'm wondering if the recent presence of Decathlon is taking a part of the market.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
Matters, but typically they replace the management.

The thing is that MEC went bankrupt, due to poor management.
They really embraced the Social Justice/"Woke" garbage, and not surprisingly collapsed. They told large numbers of customers they didn't want their business, and stopped stocking product for political reasons.
Don't worry, I'm sure the CEO and executive team will get good buyouts, and never be held accountable for their irresponsible choices.

If they actually close the stores, I'll be disappointed, the closest SAIL is quite a distance.

Bass pro and altitude really don't measure up to MEC.
Completely agree. They turned their back on the customers that were actually buying form them. They have been a train wreck the past number of years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,560 Posts
The thing is that MEC went bankrupt, due to poor management.
They really embraced the Social Justice/"Woke" garbage, and not surprisingly collapsed. They told large numbers of customers they didn't want their business, and stopped stocking product for political reasons.
Don't worry, I'm sure the CEO and executive team will get good buyouts, and never be held accountable for their irresponsible choices.
Surely it was due to poor management, but nothing about the social justice/woke garbage had anything to do with it.
They moved out of their older, but well located stores and moved in to expansion mode, both in number of stores and sizes of stores. It was a telling sign when they opened a store up in South Edmonton Common, one of the largest car-centric power centres in Canada. Trying to sell to glitzy yoga moms instead of true outdoors people.

I wonder if any of the co-op shareholders get a piece of the buyout.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,003 Posts
Surely it was due to poor management, but nothing about the social justice/woke garbage had anything to do with it.
They moved out of their older, but well located stores and moved in to expansion mode, both in number of stores and sizes of stores. It was a telling sign when they opened a store up in South Edmonton Common, one of the largest car-centric power centres in Canada. Trying to sell to glitzy yoga moms instead of true outdoors people.

I wonder if any of the co-op shareholders get a piece of the buyout.
Likely not, bankruptcies don't work that way.

I think poor management is the primary cause.
Installing free electric vehicle chargers, banning popular and excellent products.

Lots of stupidity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,981 Posts
They filled my need for specialized high quality gear 30 years ago...they should have stuck to climbing,camping,kayaking. Branching out into crowded markets like cycling was a big mistake.

Anyway the last 10 years I source anything I want online and rarely found the need to visit MEC....RIP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,719 Posts
Sad developments. MEC had been struggling before COVID, but the pandemic really pushed the retailer over the edge. They became insolvent, and under CCAA, are being acquired by Kingswood Capital, a California-based private equity firm.


It's sad because MEC has been so vital for outdoors enthusiasts. Just about all of my best equipment is from MEC. Backpacks, travel gear, bike equipment.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but PE firms like this one tend to specialize in restructuring and tearing up assets and I don't think they will be interested in operating a retailer.
I think MEC was already going down this route of selling out when it was trying to be more of a big box store competing with SAIL, Sportchek, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
IMO, a large part of the challenge has been the availabilty of sourcing gear online now. While MEC was founded based on the inability to source quality and specialized outdoor gear locally, it's a changed retail landscape today with EVERYTHING available online. They really only had two choices: Consolidate and specialize or go big. I don't necessarily fault them for trying to go big since as their membership aged, they were buying different things. I think it's incorrect to say they turned their back on the customers that were buying from them while in fact is was the yoga mom with kids demographic that was probably the largest part of their sales. However, it put them in broader competition, particularly in a challenging brick and mortar retail environment.

Anyways, I don't think MEC will completely go away but they basically need to reduce their brick and mortar footprint, specialize, and put a focus on their online shopping experience. It's unfortunate they moved into a newly built fancy new store in Vancouver recently. We went then a few weeks back and it wasn't very full product-wise. The missus even asked if they had finished moving from the old store.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,003 Posts
There are a lot of people/groups who boycott MEC because of their political views.
Yup.
That's the thing, when companies take on a political view, they risk alienating customers.
They've been on this for a while, they decided on the "social justice" path almost 20 years ago, to be fair back then it wasn't the crazy @[email protected]#$ it is today.


Mountain Equipment Co-op (Profile) | The Canadian Encyclopedia
At this week's annual meeting, the board will present a new, more muscular, vision statement for MEC. Golling says it "goes further than the previous vision in directing MEC to take a lead in environmental and social justice issues."

I'm not sure that online competition was too disasterous for them yet, when I bought equipment for my kids, I'd often go to MEC because pretty much every item they stock is/was excellent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,608 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I'm a member too, but these $5 memberships are equity stakes. In bankruptcy or restructuring, equity typically gets wiped out as it ranks lowest.

I never heard anything about MEC politics so I don't see how that could impact operation. They have (or had) good quality gear, which is what matters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,608 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I think MEC was already going down this route of selling out when it was trying to be more of a big box store competing with SAIL, Sportchek, etc.
This is the criticism of one of the MEC founders as well. She was giving an interview yesterday and talked about MEC's mistake in trying to do "everything" generic.

Once covid settles down, I might start shopping at REI in the US. After all, MEC was a copy of REI.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,299 Posts
I have a membership. If only to buy gift items for several people that shop regularly shop there. Good quality products and the right selection.

I did not realize that MEC was in trouble. Most of the outdoor type stores in our area have been doing a booming business. Some people report difficulty in finding kayaks, life preservers, boards, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,097 Posts
MEC's online store has made mistakes several times when I've ordered from them, so if they plan on using the same system, I don't have much hope.

I've long purchased my bicycle parts from my local MEC and they're great in that regard. I like to go to my store and be able to see the bike parts that I want, and they're always top quality.

Their MEC branded clothing is fine, but nothing special.

I've been a member for about 45 years and have seen quite a change, especially in the last 5 years or so. They moved their store in my city to a much larger place and I never liked it since. Something about all those silly e-chargers out front that didn't sit quite right.

ltr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,608 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I've been a member for about 45 years and have seen quite a change, especially in the last 5 years or so. They moved their store in my city to a much larger place and I never liked it since. Something about all those silly e-chargers out front that didn't sit quite right.
Interesting. I was mostly away from Canada in the last 5 years, so maybe I didn't notice the decline. I used to shop all the time at MEC, then stepped away for a few years.

Nearly all the outdoor gear I have is from MEC pre 2015.

I am somewhat concerned that the buyer will do something like Lampert's Sears Holdings, and restructure and drain all the blood from MEC just to feed their hedge fund, leaving nothing. Sears Holdings had no intention to actually fix or improve the retailer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
SAIL is closing two stores in the GTA (Vaughan & Etobicoke) and I think four in Quebec. Disappointing news as I like their stores, but at least I can still go to the Burlington store.

Their online platform is very poor which certainly doesn't help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
MEC owns some pretty choice real estate - Calgary, Vancouver IIRC. I think you will see the retail side tarted up a little to look good. It will be spun off to someone and the Real estate sold as the market recovers.

If you have gift cards, use them soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
So long MEC. Always had positive experiences with their gear & guarantee. Their move from 124St in Edmonton never made sense to me. The new store had little of the charm of the old one.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top