Are West Marine stores independently owned or does the "company" own them all? For a while here in Hawaii the local WM store had in store prices higher than the catalog. The higer price was to cover added shipping costs. A few weeks ago the store annouced their prices would be same as catalog. This is good. I was ordering on-line just to get a better price. Was wondering if WM did the price increase or the local francise- if there is one.
Also wonder on returns, does the local store care if you buy on-line from WM and return to a local WM store? I have done this without a problem, but does it cut into the local stores profit margin?
As I understand it, ALL stores are corporate owned. You can find WM products in local chandlery's, that get supplied by WM and will match or in some cases, be a bit lower than WM.
Local store does not care if you order online, pickup at the store, as you will probably pay at that store upon pickup, so that $$ goes towards that mgrs sale volume.
Then as northoceanbeach says, sometimes WM is in smaller towns. Granted small stores. but PT is a largish town vs say Blaine wa, probably less than 3-5K people, Gig Harbor to name a couple of local smaller towns with WM's in them. The smaller stores frankly, probably finding a mgr or employee that knows something more is higher than larger stores. BUT, like ALL business's, there are smart people floating around, one needs to find them.
The quote if you are a hobby'est, one needs to know a lot! that is probably true. In my landscape biz, I have run into a few folks that have special interests in some plants, Rhody's, roses, iris's.....among some, to be frank, If I had to know ALL 5000 someodd varieties of rhodys, colors, shapes etc......along with ALL the varieties of Iris's, roses etc I'd be in school and forgetting more than I learned in school getting my two horticulture degree's!
In some cases, yes, we as buyers may know more than the person helping us, no matter the store we are in. BUT if that person is willing to learn, help you get the part, be happy!