Establish your base camp.
To differentiate from his rivals, CEO Will Manzer is betting everything on his traditional core customers, the most passionate outdoor enthusiasts.
Bring the right supplies.
To get adrenaline junkies back in stores, EMS is investing in edgy, unproven sports that are hard to find elsewhere, like kite-skiing and high-speed sledding.
Adapt to your environment.
To spruce up EMS's tired image, Manzer is overhauling the company's 85 stores to resemble gear-stocked garages. If they turn off older customers, so be it.
Travel with experts.
Sometimes the best customers also make the best employees. EMS recruits outdoor enthusiasts to work in its stores.
A version of this article appeared in the April 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.