I’ve worked for Eastern Mountain Sports in one capacity or another since 1994. A lot has changed since I was first “trained” in the small mall store in Salem, NH. We changed ownership 3 times. We’ve left some western markets and grown our eastern and online presence immensely. I’ve worked in 3 stores and in the last 9 years I’ve worked for the Climbing School and the last 5 years for the Customer Service Team. But one thing that hasn’t changed is this company has always stressed that the key to successful outfitting is through knowledgeable authentic expertise. While it sounds like a bit of a catch-phrase it is so true. To that end the company invests a ton of time and payroll to train folks to levels not very common in the retail industry where turn-over can make training dollars tough to justify.
This past week I was able to get out for 3 days with store employees from our Burlington VT, N. Conway NH, Portland ME, Nashua NH, Concord NH, Portsmouth NH, West Lebanon NH, and Manchester NH stores. On the cliffs of Whitehorse Ledge, Cathedral Ledge, and in Pawtuckaway State Park we shared everything from what kind of programs EMS Schools offers to how to properly size a harness and climbing shoes. It was awesome to see folks who never climbed before overcome their trepidation and send a route, or have an “ah ha” moment while discussing the difference between aid climbing and via ferrata. Here’s some shots from the 3 days. I expect to see many of these store guides back over the summer to take advantage of one of the coolest employee benefits we offer, free climbing/paddling lessons!