Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) has appointed Simcoe County-local Melanie Sander as the manager of its new Barrie store in Ontario, Canada.

In her new role, Melanie will be tasked with hiring approximately 40 local outdoor enthusiasts as senior and frontline staff, ahead of the store's opening in November 2010.

Born in Barrie, and raised in nearby Thornton, Melanie has lived in or around the city for most of her life. She graduated from Barrie Central High School, just like her mother and grandmother before her. She recently returned to Barrie, along with her family, following a spell pursuing career opportunities in Calgary.

With recent work experience including managing a busy Home Depot store in Calgary with over 200 employees, and as controller for a multi-media home entertainment firm, Melanie will put her wealth of retail expertise and experience to good use managing the new store. What's more, she also holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, which included a thesis focused on customer service programs.

“We are thrilled to have Melanie on board, as she brings a lot to the role – deep roots in Barrie, a keen intellect with an MBA to boot, a great sense of humour, and 15 years' experience in leading people and store operations for some of Canada's best retailers,” said MEC Operations Senior Manager Gary Faryon.

MEC's Barrie store will exemplify the Co-op's commitment to 'green building'. The store is designed to maximize energy efficiency and reduce water consumption, and the building will feature solar panels for on-site power generation, while ground-source heat pumps and geothermal wells will be used for heating and cooling.

The new store is ideally placed in the region of Simcoe County, which includes the southern shoreline of Georgian Bay, a well-known destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The Niagara escarpment, which winds dramatically northwards through Simcoe County, offers some of Ontario's best single-pitch rock-climbing. Countless canoeing, hiking and cycling opportunities are available in warmer months while cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing are popular in the winter.