EMS Plans Mid-Atlantic Expansion

As part of a mid-Atlantic expansion, the New England-based outdoor clothing and supplies retailer Eastern Mountain Sports will open a showcase store in Churchmans Crossing on Friday, adding to the growing retail presence around Christiana Hospital.The 17,000-square-foot store will feature “local resources” to plan outdoor outings, a community lounge area, WiFi kiosks and a design that utilizes “green” building materials such as reclaimed machine-shop fixtures and recycled rubber floor mats.

EMS already has a small store at Concord Mall in Brandywine Hundred and says it is planning to open or relocate eight stores next year, three in the mid-Atlantic area. Founded in 1967 by two rock climbers frustrated by the meager retail offerings, EMS now has 75 stores in 12 states, most clustered in the Northeast.

Up to 17 stores may be opened in the next three years, said Will Manzer, president and CEO of EMS.EMS carries an assortment of name-brand gear, along with its own line. The company’s Web site,, is considered a key driver of its business.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the recreation economy:• Contributes $730 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
• Supports nearly 6.5 million jobs across the United States.
• Generates $88 billion in annual state and national tax revenue.
• Generates $289 billion annually in retail sales and services across the United States.
• Touches more than 8 percent of America’s personal consumption expenditures — more than one in every 12 dollars circulating in the economy.