Based on written customer feedback calling Eastern Mountain Sports to task for selling products that proselytize, the store in early September pulled all Dr. Bronner's from the company shelves and returned the product, SNEWS® has learned.
Peregrine, which distributes Dr. Bronner's, verified the product returns from EMS when SNEWS® called for confirmation.
"I am disappointed that EMS has chosen to take a staple outdoor product available throughout the outdoor industry for the past 20 plus years off their shelves," Bob Olsen of Peregrine. "We do, however, recognize and support EMS's right to make decisions governing their corporate direction."
EMS corporate officials declined comment when SNEWS® contacted them.
SNEWS® View: EMS has been selling Dr. Bronner's for the past year, moving, by our best estimates, many thousands of units. Granted, the labels can be called -- based on your taste or convictions -- inspiring, interesting, frightening, or perhaps even whacky. But who, honestly, takes them too seriously?
OK, so maybe Dr. Bronner's has an agenda, but then so do many other companies. Do we pull them all from company shelves? Frankly, among the SNEWS® faithful, the label is considered more of a source of entertainment during storm-locked conditions in a tent than a parable by which to live your life. We do know that a number of years ago, L.L. Bean dropped Bronner's from its shelves, also over a label flap. Months later, the product was restored by customer demand. Bottom line is, Bronner's commands a market share of between 75 to 90 percent of the outdoor soap market, depending on who's talking. Customers speak time and again with their wallets, and if they can't get it at EMS, they will buy it elsewhere. It will be interesting to see if EMS is able to stick to its guns over a few customers complaining about label content or if they bend under the weight of hundreds of customers complaining about not finding Dr. Bronner's.