MEC members sound off on co-op's 'gutless' sale to U.S. firm

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Some longtime members and former employees of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), the largest co-operative in Canada, say they should have been made aware of the co-op's financial problems before it signed an acquisition deal.
Some longtime members and former employees of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), the largest co-operative in Canada, say they should have been made aware of the co-op's financial problems before it signed an acquisition deal.

Earlier this week, CBC reported MEC's board of directors had unanimously approved a deal for a private U.S. investor to acquire MEC's assets.

MEC said the acquisition was necessary to ensure a future for the retailer, and that its financial struggles had been exacerbated by the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. But since the news, a petition circulating online has garnered nearly 80,000 signatures, calling on MEC's board of directors to halt the deal.

"At first it was utter shock. It's hard to imagine that the co-op would be sold," said Elliot Hegel, a member and former employee, in an interview with CBC Radio's All In A Day Wednesday.

"And then it was a definite sense of sadness."

'A cold, heartless transaction"

The Vancouver-based consumer co-operative has 22 stores across the country and over five million members across Canada, and Ottawa members like Hegel say the decision has left them feeling betrayed…
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