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Versa lays off 110 at EMS in Peterborough

Versa Capital announced Thursday that it has laid off 110 Eastern Mountain Sports employees in Peterborough, and that it has shuttered the distribution facility at the headquarters off Route 202 as part of the private equity firm’s broad overhaul of the outdoor retailer, according to a press release issued late Thursday afternoon.

In addition to closing its Peterborough distribution facility, Versa is also eliminating several back-office support functions in Peterborough. The group plans to keep its merchandising, product design, call center and web operations in Peterborough. EMS will continue to employ approximately 110 people in Peterborough.

The company has created a new division named Vestis, which will be made up by EMS and Bob’s Stores. The group will have more than 3,200 employees and more than 100 stores across 12 eastern states. The company’s distribution will be consolidated within Bob’s existing distribution facility in Meriden, Conn. The changes will begin immediately and will be finalized over the next five months.

As part of the shift, Mark Walsh, CEO of Bob’s and a Versa Principal, has been named CEO of Vestis. Will Manzer has stepped down as CEO of EMS, effective immediately, but he will serve as a consultant to Walsh during the transition. Walsh and Garry Herdler, interim CFO of Vestis, will oversee EMS’s day-to-day operations in Peterborough.

The developments will have no impact on the company’s existing EMS stores, which remain fully operational . EMS continues to employ approximately 130 people in its stores in New Hampshire, as well as another 1,000 people in its stores outside of New Hampshire.

“The steps we have taken at EMS are difficult ones, but we believe they are in the best long-term interests of the business,” said Walsh.

Philadelphia-based Vestis acquired EMS in late November.

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