Kingswood Capital Management won the bidding for MEC; can it win over skeptical MEC loyalists?

    The outside of a Mountain Equipment Co-Op is seen in North Vancouver, Monday, Dec. 9, 2017. Mountain Equipment Co-op has appointed a Best Buy Canada executive to head the outdoor gear retailer. The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward

    VANCOUVER — Though it had been public about its financial struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vancouver-based outdoor retail co-operative MEC surprised its members last week when it announced a deal that would see it taken over by an American private equity firm. 

    MEC’s board said it chose little-known Kingswood Capital Management for its commitment to the co-op’s ethos and its promise to keep most stores open. That hasn’t prevented the firm from facing the wrath of MEC loyalists who want the co-op model to stay intact—and who are suspicious of the retailer’s future under private ownership.

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