MEC Looks to Its Roots as Expert Outdoor Gear Provider after Insolvency, Sale

Last September, deep in debt and with rising losses, Mountain Equipment Co-op filed for creditor protection and announced its sale to U.S.-based private investment firm Kingswood Capital Management, the Canadian Press reported. The B.C.-based retailer had been struggling with an enormous debt burden, inventory problems and steep online competition for years. Then COVID-19 hit, shuttering stores and obliterating in-person sales. Still, the decision to sell came as a surprise to members of the co-operative. The idea of wealthy American investors swooping in to dissolve the co-op structure and take over the retailer was unthinkable to some Canadians. A group called Save MEC was launched and a petition circulated in a bid to stop the sale. “There was a lot of emotion,” said Eric Claus, the CEO and chairman of MEC Canada since November. “The sale of MEC to a private enterprise was a really difficult thing to swallow for some people.” In a bid to win back loyal customers and attract new ones, MEC is rolling out new membership benefits that include discounts on services, exclusive promotions and access to outdoor activity and product experts. Read more.