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 Post subject: MEC
PostPosted: November 28th, 2019, 7:33 pm 
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Joined: February 12th, 2004, 9:28 am
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Location: Waterloo, ON
I was not impressed when MEC opened a store in Kitchener when Waterloo already had a well established local outdoors store in Adventure Guide. The choice by MEC seemed to be the exact opposite of what a member run coop promoting outdoor adventure activities should have been doing to support the sports and fellow retailers. If MEC is losing money now, what impact are they having on the independent retailers who they are competing with geographically?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british- ... -1.5375846

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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 28th, 2019, 8:36 pm 
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Joined: September 16th, 2019, 1:47 pm
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I joined the original MEC in Vancouver when it was only one store. Spent a lot of money on gear there over the decades. I've not at all been pleased with what they've become - Corporate retailers, selling imported stock at high mark-ups. The Victoria store is a 'shadow' store, used to bring in, and encourage members, only to force them to buy online the items that they pretend to stock. When they 'lost' my 30 year account after a single unresolved warranty claim - a broken zipper - without even bothering to contact me... I walked away. Haven't been back since. I now support the independants, and they often support me as a valued customer. I like that.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 28th, 2019, 8:51 pm 
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Joined: April 16th, 2003, 1:50 pm
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Location: Toronto
I'm a bit torn about this as well. My membership isn't that close to the root, but my dot-matrix printed cardboard membership card is an occasional hit with the gen Z cashiers haha. They've gone mass market yes, but correct me if I'm wrong I think they still do a bunch of environmental initiatives, and the 1% or whatever they donate is now potentially 10x bigger than it used to be thanks to that very same mass market. So I see glass half full and still buy some stuff there.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 29th, 2019, 1:09 am 
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Joined: February 24th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 514
Location: HFX, Nova Scotia canada
MEC is now a full blown retailer. It has become the large retailer that when I became a member on 1980( still have my original card) that the Co-op championed against.

There are less MEC brand products( tents are the big stand out for me, 11 models and it looks like 3 of them are being discontinued), and extremely priced ( tents again, Big Agnes tents are ridiculously over priced). I still buy there because of the warranty.

Too many stores, move into bikes was a disaster and way too much product. I know we need choice in this day and age( 71 models of trail running shoes, really?) but the company has gotten way to large.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 29th, 2019, 8:14 am 
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Joined: March 28th, 2016, 8:19 pm
Posts: 122
Location: Marathon/Superior
MEC faces the same pressures to grow and deliver profit that any other company does in a free market. They still demonstrate more corporate social responsibility than any company that comes to mind except maybe Patagonia, but it's harder for a retailer to stay competitive than a single brand especially in the age of e-commerce. I didn't see any other *big* retailers closing their doors for the climate strike.

I wouldn't begrudge them for changing from what they once were to try to remain competitive and profitable unless you want them to disappear altogether, because that's what happens to a retailer that does. And if that happens, someone will take their place and they will likely be a lesser company. The fact that Adventure Guide already exists in KW doesn't give them any right to the territory. That is a huge market...other retailers are going to market their goods there. SAIL already did!

I love MEC. I've gotten great service, love ordering online from them as someone living in a remote community, I respect their efforts to remain green, and I can't think of another retailer who I would want to replace them. I'm sad to hear that they're losing money.

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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 29th, 2019, 9:32 am 
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Joined: February 12th, 2004, 9:28 am
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Location: Waterloo, ON
Jonathan Kelly wrote:
...

I wouldn't begrudge them for changing from what they once were to try to remain competitive and profitable unless you want them to disappear altogether, because that's what happens to a retailer that does. And if that happens, someone will take their place and they will likely be a lesser company. The fact that Adventure Guide already exists in KW doesn't give them any right to the territory. That is a huge market...other retailers are going to market their goods there. SAIL already did!

...


1) The purpose of a coop is to serve its members, not to maximize profit.
2) The outdoor retail market is not huge. Viably carrying the low volume specialty products is strongly dependent on making margin on higher volume products. As a member run coop that is supposed to be supporting outdoor sports, MEC would work in cooperation with local retailers. The attempt to cherry pick the easy sales in established market is bad for the everyone.
3) Yep, there is always competition from other retailers. Sail is a relatively new entrant and I've been impressed that they have maintained as high a mix of specialty gear as they have. So, given the established competition, was there any business justification for opening a MEC store in that area? How about Barrie? Or Burlington? Or London?

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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 29th, 2019, 9:38 am 
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Joined: May 25th, 2017, 3:02 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Guelph, Ontario
I've been shopping at Adventure Guide for years and still support them by purchasing clothing and gear there. That said prior to the Kitchener location of MEC opening up I would drive into Toronto (still do once in a while to see the products that the Kitchener MEC doesn't carry) to see and buy products that Adventure Guide didn't carry. I think a bigger impact to Adventure Guide in terms of my spending would be e-commerce. I will buy freeze dried meals online from MEC than trekking into Adventure Guide. Online provides a better selection of food especially for September trips.

Prior to MEC opening in Kitchener SAIL opened a store in the north end of Cambridge which I suspect would have had an impact on Adventure Guide sales. MEC Kitchener and SAIL Cambridge are only 12 Km apart and it's another 12 Km NW from MEC Kitchener to Adventure Guide. I'm not a retail expert but it appears to me that MEC and SAIL are locked in a competition for a overlapping market based on where I've seen stores opening in my part of the country.

When Adventure Guide moved into their current location they greatly expanded their offering of clothing. That makes sense to increase sales because there are a lot more people buying clothing than camping gear. I suspect MEC's move in to bikes is the same thing. With more people living in cities, supporting outdoor living where ever their clients are makes sense to me.

I will continue to support Adventure Guide and lament the competitive pressures they are under as an independent retailer but I will not dump on or avoid MEC for trying to stay competitive in a changing market place. I wonder if one day we will be expressing concern for MEC in light of threats from Amazon.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 29th, 2019, 10:17 am 
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Joined: February 28th, 2019, 4:55 pm
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I'm very willing to be proven wrong, but from my experience MEC has the best website for purchasing outdoor gear. Every other site simply copy/pastes the manufacturer's marketing material, not to mention Amazon where fakes and lies abound. MEC actually attempts to give it's users the ability to objectively compare items.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 29th, 2019, 10:30 am 
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Joined: August 8th, 2016, 10:37 am
Posts: 71
Location: Northern Alberta
They still demonstrate more corporate social responsibility than any company that comes to mind except maybe Patagonia,

Sorry but I'm not sure i agree.
This isn't Canoeing or outdoor equipment related specifically but...
The Edmonton MEC runs a series of Fun Runs during Spring, Summer and Fall. in Late August they re-scheduled their September Race for the same exact time and date as the Terry Fox Run. When I suggested that they might want to reconsider and pick another date, I was told "Sorry, but we don't see a conflict."
I'm a 30 year member but haven't been in a store since.

Bruce


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 29th, 2019, 11:44 am 
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Joined: August 8th, 2013, 9:53 am
Posts: 126
MEC dropped 1% for the planet to establish their own thing. They have moved away from Mountain Equipment.

The stores are now focused on street wear apparel and bikes. I still go from time to time, but MEC lost its way about a decade ago when the focus and logo changed.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 29th, 2019, 7:15 pm 
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Joined: June 26th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 666
Location: scarborugh, Ontario canada
I have some gear first purchased from MEC almost 30 years ago, when alot of the gear they sold was made in Canada, I still have and use my Seeratus bike panniers that were made in Canada. Now they sell alot of inferior products made over seas, back in the day they never had a "clearance area" because they never over stocked, it almost always sold..............good old days long gone, just reading today that MEC lost 11 million dollars last year and hopefully the new ceo (former best buy boss) will change things.
I'm finding myself purchasing more gear online that is made in North America, willing to pay the extra for quality and durability.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 30th, 2019, 7:14 am 
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Joined: November 18th, 2003, 5:35 pm
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Over the years I've had to return faulty material to the MEC and they have always reimbursed me. Sometimes may years later. Doubt I would have been able to do the same elsewhere.

GG

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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 30th, 2019, 9:53 am 
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Joined: December 9th, 2012, 9:57 am
Posts: 347
We became members way back when business models reflected a very different time. There wasn't yet the ease of internet shopping or any of the booming retail competition that comes with it. Stores were bricks and mortar, and correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they have a (paper) catalogue? I went from gleefully circling items in the old Eaton's Christmas catalogue as a kid to doing the same in the new MEC annual catalogue as a 20 something. But how times change. Sounds to me like MEC has simply tried to keep up with the times as well as actually read them. There is still a type of shopper who prefers to visit actual stores rather than the virtual ones, to physically handle the product before making a decision. I might not be alone in this old fashioned attitude. I suspect MEC responded to this demographic with their bricks and mortar expansion. Except that there's also been a boom in internet type shopping as well. MEC has tried to keep pace with that too. The internet has changed the retail landscape, and certainly has been favourable to customers. MEC has also tried to expand into other sports and rec activities to reach and expand a customer base. All of this makes perfect sense to me. Although I'm not into their yoga tights I am into their cycling panniers; I'm not into their glamping gear but am into their canoe tripping stuff. And their own brand name products have always been well designed and made, and priced very competitively as well as backed fully with an impressive warranty. Service has always been stellar. All in all I'm happy with them, more or less.
I'm not at all disappointed in their aggressive business decisions through expansion of stores and products. As a member I'd be more upset if they didn't adequately compete with other retailers. Maybe they can't be all things to all people, but they're certainly trying. Niche companies trying to maintain success in a niche market are confined to and by their business model and vision. MEC started out as a climbing store? My how they've grown and I for one am glad they have.
Lastly I've always been happy with their 1% participation in environmental concerns. It seems they've decided to apply this instead to an expansive number of activities. A not so subtle shift from the environment to sports & rec? I'm not pleased with this, but it appears MEC continues to support enviro ideals through their product sourcing. Good.
Being a co-op member means I have some say through voting through participatory governance . But being a democratically directed business means we as member/shoppers may not all share the same common economic, social, cultural ideals. And we don't. And I'm okay with that.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 30th, 2019, 4:00 pm 
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Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
Posts: 843
11 million dollar loss on a half billion in sales is not a big deal especially if it is due to money sunk into a number of new stores.

Yes they have to sort out what they want to be and could stand to change a few things.

They'll be fine. They are still my outdoors retailer of choice even with a Sail and Cabelas nearby.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC
PostPosted: November 30th, 2019, 9:35 pm 
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Joined: August 8th, 2017, 9:14 am
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And even though I'm an avid fisherman and would love to see MEC carry fishing gear - I go to Sail and Cabelas for those things (or my rural Canadian Tire which has an epic hunting and fishing section but you'd be crazy to buy anything else there)

Nonetheless for anything other than fishing it is my go-to place.


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