Eastern Mountain Sports bought out


PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) – Eastern Mountain Sports, outdoor and sporting equipment retailer, said Tuesday a management team and investors are buying the company from its owners, American Retail Group.

The buyout of the Peterborough-based company is led by Will Manzer, Eastern Mountain Sports President and CEO. It was backed by investment firm J.H. Whitney & Co., a Stamford, Conn.-based venture capital firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“With our new partners, we will continue to strengthen our unique retail model of serving outdoor athletes and enthusiasts,” Manzer said in a news release.

Eastern Mountain Sports had been a chain within American Retail Group, which is owned by the Brenninkmeyer family based in Belgium. Along with $7 billion in retail worldwide, the Brenninkmeyers own 635 apparel stores in the United States.

The outdoors retailer employs about 200 in Peterborough and is one of the town’s largest employers.

“I think its always good to have the ownership right on the premise,” said Peterborough Chamber of Commerce President Edward R. Leach. “It works well for any company, anywhere, anytime.”

The company was founded by two rock climbers in Wellesley, Mass., 37 years ago. They wanted a wider selection of climbing equipment, so they opened a store near Boston. The corporate headquarters moved to Peterborough in the 1970s.

Eastern Mountain Sports has 80 stores in 16 states, including one in Keene. Over the years, it has expanded to offer gear and clothing for kayaking, mountain biking, camping, hiking, backpacking, mountaineering and snow sports.