Originally Posted by kellysails
The Fisheries Supply store (gigantic store) is a mess though with the occasional extremely grumpy employee. Some will actually avert their eyes if they see you coming and act very busy, really! Where as the Seattle flagship WM store in Lake Union is simply awesome. Very well organized and incredibly helpful staff. Sometimes the prices in Fisheries are half the price of WM.
Wow, that hasn't been my experience at all. The staff at Fisheries are very helpful and knowledgeable, especially in the sailing department. I can think of one or two exceptions. The people who work at the checkout generally know my account and are very friendly too.
The WM folks at the big store in Seattle are sort of helpful, but the stock there is a fraction of what Fisheries offers at higher prices. It is half clothing with a tiny little section of sailing hardware. The West Marine next to Shilshole Marina is even smaller, but the staff are more helpful. I go there more often because it is a 20 minute walk or 3 minute bike ride from my boat.
Most sailing clubs in Seattle get you a discount at Fisheries Supply that can get even larger savings. The Center for Wooden Boats is a great non-profit to support for instance, and membership there will pay for itself with cheaper Fisheries Supply pricing many times over.
I occasionally get stuff from Defender, but it is rarely worth it for me. The one exception is electronics, they have better prices on Raymarine than WM or Fisheries.