EMS cuts 41 jobs

Last modified: 1/15/2015 9:19:27 AM
PETERBOROUGH — Eastern Mountain Sports will be eliminating 41 jobs from its Peterborough office, and will be relocating other positions to its corporate headquarters in Connecticut, according to a letter sent to Peterborough town officials. But, the Peterborough retail store, call center and customer service center will remain at 1 Vose Farm Rd.

In a statement EMS emailed the Ledger-Transcript on Wednesday, they confirmed that “41 jobs in Peterborough, N.H., will be eliminated between February and May 2015.”

The statement also said EMS is consolidating its corporate functions at Vestis Retail Group, LLC’s headquarters in Meriden, Connecticut. Vestis Retail Group owns EMS, Bob’s Stores and Sport Chalet, the West Coast outdoor retailer.

The statement also reads, “The EMS retail store located on Vose Farm Road will continue serving the Peterborough community.... Some EMS employees will relocate from Peterborough to Meriden, and approximately 45 EMS employees will remain in the Peterborough area to staff the company’s call center, customer service and certain other functions.”

When asked how large EMS’s Peterborough workforce is, Chuck Dohrenwend, a spokesperson for EMS, said the outdoor retailer declined to say.

Mark Walsh, Vestis Retail Group’s CEO, informed Peterborough Select Board Chair Barbara Miller by letter dated Dec. 8 that the first of the layoffs to “restructure certain operations at its corporate office and distribution center” in Peterborough will start on Feb. 7, or in the 14 days following. The letter was made available to the public at the Select Board’s meeting Tuesday evening.

According to the contents of the letter, its purpose was to notice these layoffs, in compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The act requires most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.

According to Walsh’s letter, EMS has also issued notices under The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, WARN, Act to those employees first affected by the layoffs. 

These cuts follow EMS laying off about 110 employees in January 2013. In this first wave of layoffs in 2013, EMS closed its distribution center and several other back-office support functions.

Versa Capital Management, LLC, a Philadelphia-based private equity investment firm, formed Vestis Retail Group in purchasing EMS and merging it with Bob’s stores. The 2013 EMS layoffs were part of that merger .

Currently, EMS operates 67 stores, and employs 1,200 people from Virginia to Maine.

EMS’s warehouse and office facility at 1 Vose Farm Rd. is for sale for an undisclosed amount.

Miller said by phone Wednesday that, after receiving the letter, the Select Board spoke about what they could do. “We feel so badly for the people being laid off this time of the year,” Miller said.

Miller said the board foresaw these layoffs, but didn’t expect them to come this quickly. “When an organization moves its headquarters, it moves all its supports staff.”


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