Re: West Marine no longer matching prices...
West Marine's stock has been on a fairly steady rise since 2009. They're doing something right, although, their return on investment is not outrageous. The expense of maintaining their model is much higher than an internet provider.
There model is the convenience of their stores and the ability to see the stuff at a few hundred stores around the country, before you buy. That has some value, IMO. Hard to try on a foulie at Defender, for example.
Of course, they also have the Port Supply model for commercial vendors.
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In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.