Eastern Mountain Sports

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Eastern Mountain Sports, Inc.
Industry Retail
Founded 1967 (1967)
Number of locations
Products Outdoor gear and clothing
Owner Versa Capital Management
Website www.ems.com

Eastern Mountain Sports (or EMS) is an outdoor clothing and equipment retailer in the U.S. Northeast headquartered in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

EMS sells outdoor equipment and clothing from both name brands and its own EMS line. The company also has a set of EMS Schools that offer classes in rock and ice climbing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, trekking, and skiing. The EMS Schools headquarters is located in the White Mountains in North Conway, NH; and has other locations near Boston, the Shawangunk Ridge and the Adirondacks in NY, etc.

EMS is owned by Vestis Retail Group LLC, and its current CEO is Mark Walsh.


EMS was founded in 1967 in Wellesley, Massachusetts by two climbers - Alan McDonough, who was running the family hotel chain, and Roger Furst, a lawyer whose office was in the McDonough complex. They targeted the outdoor equipment market in Boston. The first store on Linden St. in Wellesley carried the Gerry outdoor equipment line as well as downhill skis.

In 1968, the two enterprises merged and built the 1041 Commonwealth Avenue store - at 10,000 sq. ft. the largest outdoor equipment/mountaineering store in New England.

McDonough and Furst sold the company in 1979 to The Franklin Mint, which was acquired by Warner Communications in 1981. Four years later Warner sold the Mint but retained EMS, subsequently selling it to the American Retail Group, owned by the Brenninkmeijer family.[1]

In July 2003 Will Manzer became President and CEO and shifted the company focus back towards specialty outdoors gear. A new logo, store reorganization, and a shift from stores in shopping malls to freestanding community-based stores followed.[2]

American Retail Group sold Eastern Mountain Sports to investors lead by J.H. Whitney & Company in 2004.[3]

Bob Mayerson was announced as new president in March 2010, as Will Manzer continues leading the company.[4]

In 2012, Versa Capital Management bought EMS from J.H. Whitney.[5]


  1. ^ Dinger, Ed (1998). "The Franklin Mint". International Directory of Company Histories 69. Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  2. ^ Conley, Lucas (April 2005). "Climbing Back Up the Mountain". Fast Company. pp. 84–86. Retrieved 2008-04-30. Archived on 2008-04-30.
  3. ^ Eastern Mountain Sports bought out
  4. ^ "EMS announces executive promotions". The Boston Globe. 2010-03-03. 
  5. ^ Versa Capital buys Eastern Mountain Sports

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