Over the past 3 to 6 years, it's obvious of MEC that its product line, style, and relationship with its member-customers has changed drastically. Today, we're going to talk a little about how MEC pivoted its business from serving its (stereotypically) backcountry traveling, alpine mountaineering, co-op members, and instead now serve the gigantic market of people who ostensibly do things "outside", i.e. outside buildings (and sometimes inside them too), like yoga and running.
This is not a rant against MEC, but pointing out references and information about an interesting business transformation. I feel one day MEC could be a standard business case study of how to pivot an existing business --- and a very successful democratic consumers' cooperative, rather than a standard corporation, no less.
In 1998, Mountain Equipment Co-op showed us the allure of forests as far as the eyes can see, snow capped mountain tops, and people climbing up those mountains --- well, at least as much as web graphics could in 1998.
(I'm sorry to future historians if MEC bans the Internet Archive robots and asks them to delete their old web pages from its history after this. What? Haven't we always been at war with Eastasia?.)
MEC's product line has in the past 6 or so years become less technical, meaning less for functionality, utility, and purpose of backcountry specialized activities (think alpine mountaineering, multi-pitch ice climbing, 6 month expeditions in the middle of nowhere). Instead, MEC's product line was "broadened" to be more "inclusive", i.e. watered down and retargeted at common popular activities to appeal to the masses. This means targeting fresh styles, new fashions, and vibrant colors, for jogging, yoga, eating ice cream, etc. (If you think this kind of talk is "elitist" of me, read on --- we'll see why MEC had intentionally set up the discussion this way.)
You think I'm joking about the ice cream? These are from MEC's front page today (well, Aug 8th):
In 2016, I too like eating ice cream outside my place.
MEC's company culture changed too, with customer service emphasizing enthusiastic salespeople, instead of deeply knowledgeable outdoors-people who could give expert, experienced advice about the products they themselves have used in the woods.