Do any other countries even have a nation chain chandlery? OZ? France? SA?
The Caribbean has two: Budget Marine and Island Water World.
Its imperative IMHO that the sailors in this region support the locals and in doing so we benifit in a) having them and b) their competing against each other keeping prices low.
If you guys in the USA lose Westmarine you will never get to touch a marine product before you order it on-line. You will never get to hold it, inspect it, measure it, look at the fine print on the bottom of it, ogal it for months before you can afford it. The best you will have is some stingy photo on the internet.
You will never be able to take it into the next aisle and buy the correct tubing for it, the right connectors, the wiring you need to install it, the correct tackle for the block or visa versa.
Yes you may save money on buying off the internet but how do you KNOW you are ordering the exact correct thing?
How do people 'help' Westmarine when they lack direction or some other obvious malaise or management error? I don't know. But I guess its its important to try by emailing their Head Office (etc) every time you are dissatisfied. At least then they have the benifit of your knowledge of their shop.