EMS Sold -- Again

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Chapter 11 means that there is some hope that the business could be reorganized and continue functioning but not that far away from chapter 7 which is liquidate the assets and close the doors.
 
I hope the EMS Schools in Glen survives all of this. I happened to stop at the market next to it yesterday afternoon for ice, so drove over to have a look. Nobody around, no lights, nothing at all on the windows and door, no hours, no notices, no open or closed. I hadn't been there before so can't say if that's how it normally is. It felt a bit sparse but tidy, as though ready for a class or adventure.

The sign to the right says, "The Mountain Never Closes".

IMG_4155 copy 2.jpg
 
I tend to hang on to gear that works for a long time. Two of my longest tenured jackets are both EMS designs from the late 90s.

One in particular that I love and that is finally about to die is a riff on the Marmot DriClime Windshirt. The EMS variant has long pit-zips and is fantastic in cool wet conditions here in New England. I'd buy several just to stock up if I could. Closest thing I've seen (on the web) are the Buffalo System shirts from the UK.

Another favorite was a pair of light leather hiking boots with very very stiff soles. Not sure who made them for EMS but I wore the soles off of them and hands down the best footwear I ever used for the Whites. Light enough to not suck on the way up but stiff enough under foot to last all day on rocks.

All this to say that I thought EMS did its best when it had a real, no kidding design team based here in New England. Putting the Eastern in EMS, so to speak.

But that mostly applied to clothing and boots. I would think the east could use some eastern focused shelter design but other than that, it's hard to argue other gear could really be eastern. Which is to say, as markets have consolidated and supply chains have gotten longer, I think their fate was sealed.

Is there any room for truly eastern focused hiking clothing, boots and maybe shelters? Is it viable? Who's left and how are they doing it? LL Bean (they have a kernel of real stuff that is EMSish)? Ragged? Johnson by God Woolen Mills?
 
There used to be a small firm in the Fryeburg area called Log Cabin Designs that made a lot of EMS gear. It was usually a good copy of the latest designs.

LL Beans did make sure they had some gear designed for the east coast. Congress Sportwear in Brunswick Maine made a lot of their higher end jackets like the Baxter State Park Parka. They like many firms had to battle the price versus durability battle. Places like Beans and to a lesser extent EMS had either an official or unofficial lifetime guarantee. The latest and greatest outdoor gear tends to be lightweight with cutting edge fabrics sometimes with minimal track record. Some of the UL stuff is built with little regard for abuse, look at it wrong and seams are going to open up, fabric will wear out and the latest and greatest coating system turns out to be non durable. The retailer with a generous guarantee is the one that usually eats that although reportedly Beans would backcharge vendors and threaten to blacklist them from future products. IMHO, despite having very good reasons to do so, when Beans dumped the lifetime warranty, they just became another expensive outdoor retailer.

I think the approach now is sell products as fashion merchandise with generous markup and then if something does get returned, sell it in factory sale at what is probably the stores original cost.
 
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There used to be a small firm in the Fryeburg area called Log Cabin Designs that made a lot of EMS gear. It was usually a good copy of the latest designs.

LL Beans did make sure they had some gear designed for the east coast. Congress Sportwear in Brunswick Maine made a lot of their higher end jackets like the Baxter State Park Parka. They like many firms had to battle the price versus durability battle. Places like Beans and to a lesser extent EMS had either an official or unofficial lifetime guarantee. The latest and greatest outdoor gear tends to be lightweight with cutting edge fabrics sometimes with minimal track record. Some of the UL stuff is built with little regard for abuse, look at it wrong and seams are going to open up, fabric will wear out and the latest and greatest coating system turns out to be non durable. The retailer with a generous guarantee is the one that usually eats that although reportedly Beans would backcharge vendors and threaten to blacklist them from future products. IMHO, despite having very good reasons to do so, when Beans dumped the lifetime warranty, they just became another expensive outdoor retailer.

I think the approach now is sell products as fashion merchandise with generous markup and then if something does get returned, sell it in factory sale at what is probably the stores original cost.
Log House Designs is still with us. Ragged Mountain Equipment is for sale if you want to hop into the game.

https://log-house-designs.square.site/

https://www.loopnet.com/biz/Busines...ley-staple-is-being-offered-for-sale/2220846/
 
It is on various commercial real estate websites. More than a few business listings do not have signage on the property. Unlike residential, listings, commercial listings do not typically show up in one place. There are also many commercial listings, by owners that are in no rush to sell but if someone is willing to pay the asking price, the owners will sell.

In many cases, the owners of these businesses only retirement is selling the equity they built up in the business over the years. They paid themselves a living wage during the good years but never really pulled any profits out. They are hoping that someone wants to buy an ongoing business and has the cash or bank loans to buy it.
 
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Does anyone have a list of the open EMS stores?
The website is working again - that shows 21, but does NOT show the one in Albany that was closing (at first to move across the plaza) so that may be moderately accurate (maybe the post above got the number reversed?).
 
Looks like Dick would rather go play Golf than go hiking. Who the heck was Bob?
 
Looks like Dick would rather go play Golf than go hiking. Who the heck was Bob?

Bob was an actual person in Middletown, Connecticut. I lived there for many years, work there and live a town over these days. Not such an old-timer that I recall the original store, but it's within living memory of some here. The chain closure has been a topic on the local facebook group, with some nostalgic remembrances of the old days.

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob's_Stores

"Bob's Stores is a chain of retail stores in the northeastern United States owned by GoDigital Media Group. Founded as Bob's Surplus in Middletown, Connecticut, by Robert "Bob" Lapidus in 1954, the chain expanded gradually until it was acquired by Melville Corporation and has been reacquired five more times since then. The chain targets moderate-income customers with a selection of footwear, workwear, teamwear, and activewear.

History Early years

In 1954, Bob Lapidus opened Bob's Surplus on Main Street in Middletown, Connecticut.[1][2] His original business strategy was to "Treat all customers with respect and dignity and they will return again and again".[1] As Bob's Surplus increased in popularity, its location was hindering its growth; in 1962, Lapidus moved the store to a larger building across the street.[1] In 1967, the store was forced to move again after a fire destroyed the building.[1]

In 1975, the second Bob's Surplus was opened in Enfield, Connecticut; the third store was opened in Hamden, Connecticut, in 1981.[3] The chain renamed itself "Bob's Stores" in 1985, and began changing its marketing strategy by emphasizing quality and adding casual activewear to its list of products.[3][4]

In the 1970s and early 1980s the Bob's Surplus circular logo was featured on a line of very popular t-shirts that were sold inexpensively or given away for free at their stores. Both the t-shirts themselves and the Bob's Surplus logo that was printed on them were available in a large variety of color combinations.[5]

When the name of the chain was changed to Bob's Stores in 1985, the word "Surplus" on the logo was switched to "Stores." Anew rectangular Bob's Stores logo was introduced in the 1980s. T-shirts with the new rectangular Bob's Stores logo—again in various color combinations—were also sold or given as freebies at their locations in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[5]

In 1990, the chain had expanded to five stores; that year, it was acquired by the Melville Corporation (now CVS Corporation). ..."
 
Does anyone have a list of the open EMS stores?
Email just came advertising a total inventory blowout (20-60% off) at 15 locations:

Danbury CT
Burlington, Canton, Hadley MA
N Conway, Peterborough, Portsmouth, West Lebanon NH
Portland ME
Bridgewater NJ
Ithaca, Lake Placid, Saratoga NY
Warrington PA
Burlington VT

Not quite sure what that means, since it is more than the 12 suggested to continue, but also wouldn't leave 12 if you subtract those from the 21 on the site (the missing 6 are Waterford CT, Hyannis & Westborough MA, Freeport ME, Manchester NH and Deptford NJ).
 
Email just came advertising a total inventory blowout (20-60% off) at 15 locations:

Danbury CT
Burlington, Canton, Hadley MA
N Conway, Peterborough, Portsmouth, West Lebanon NH
Portland ME
Bridgewater NJ
Ithaca, Lake Placid, Saratoga NY
Warrington PA
Burlington VT

Not quite sure what that means, since it is more than the 12 suggested to continue, but also wouldn't leave 12 if you subtract those from the 21 on the site (the missing 6 are Waterford CT, Hyannis & Westborough MA, Freeport ME, Manchester NH and Deptford NJ).
Was at Manchester NH today. Signs in the store say it is closing.
 
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