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Remember you're a womble
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Apparently they are closing all but their Toronto stores, like them or loathe them, you have to admit that for those living within reach of one, they are convenient.
 

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News release or link?? (not doubting you! )
 

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I have been able to avoid West Marine for quite a while now. I source from local merchants and via the internet. I don't think that WM's heart was ever really into the Canadian market. You can walk into any US based WM and get anything in their catalog shipped in for free. In Canada you pay more than the US prices plus $ exchange rate and they ding you for freight as well.
There are so many reasons not to shop there that in most cases I prefer ordering out of the US rather than supporting the local store.
The one exception is their fastner assortment - way overpriced but if you need a specific item it's nice to have them available.
Hopefully this news bodes well for local marine merchants!
 

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Old soul
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Yup, no big loss. Expensive, and clearly not really interested in the Canadian market. Actually, it will hopefully be good news for Canadians since this will free up some market space for local businesses.

I envy folks with local chandlers. We have none up here in northern Ontario. Everything is online. But the only use I have for WM is that I can go to their website, find the item I need, and then know what the absolute top price is. I can then usually find the same thing at a Canadian online store like Binnacle, Marine Outfitters (formerly Pride), BL Yachts, or Stright-Mackay at a cheaper price, and (shocking) actually listed in Canadian $$. If I have to shop in the US it's through Defender. They are usually much cheaper, and ironically I've had far better customer service from them compared to WM.

Yup ... no big loss.
 

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Yup.. agree. WM was closest to our marina, but another local vendor was not far away (both within walking distance) and the latter was always a preference.
 

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Yup, no big loss. Expensive, and clearly not really interested in the Canadian market. Actually, it will hopefully be good news for Canadians since this will free up some market space for local businesses.

I envy folks with local chandlers. We have none up here in northern Ontario. Everything is online. But the only use I have for WM is that I can go to their website, find the item I need, and then know what the absolute top price is. I can then usually find the same thing at a Canadian online store like Binnacle, Marine Outfitters (formerly Pride), BL Yachts, or Stright-Mackay at a cheaper price, and (shocking) actually listed in Canadian $$. If I have to shop in the US it's through Defender. They are usually much cheaper, and ironically I've had far better customer service from them compared to WM.

Yup ... no big loss.
Hi Mike - don't forget boaterbits.ca (Vancouver). Great people and excellent service. Amazing prices and always prepaid freight.
 

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Darn it, I wonder if Genco in the downtown core could have lasted if WM pulled out a little earlier? I think they were badly impacted by the construction on Queens Quay and the rising rent, so maybe it wouldn't have made a difference. I've managed to avoid WM like the plague so far, but this will mean that there are no marine stores left in the downtown area (perhaps not even in Toronto proper...). Hard to believe since Toronto is supposedly the busiest pleasure boating harbour on the Great Lakes.

The Rigging Shoppe and Genco are always my go to shops, but it was kind of nice to have West Marine around for emergencies after Genco pulled their store.
 

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Master Mariner
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Just like Walmart, WM swept through the country buying out or putting all the other chandlers out of business. Whenever they close a store, it's like sticking up their middle finger at all their customers, because their monopoly leaves nobody left to supply the customers.
Ain't capitalism great?
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I think Genco on King St disappeared because the land values there went through the roof. I think it is only a matter of time until the same thing happens to the West Marine downtown. I used to buy sails from Joe Fernandes and his moves mirrored the changes in real estate values in downtown. Now both Genco and Triton are in Mississauga where the rents are lower. I would imagine in 10 years time the Triton location may be redeveloped too.

I have been a long-time customer at Nat's in Pickering (originally a branch of Genco). They often don't have what I want, but they can get it in and they give good customers a discount.

West Marine will not be missed.
 

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WM hasn't bothered with the Vancouver Boat Show in years.
 

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It's hard to tell from their investor relations materials, exactly what happened in Canada. There was some sort of tax reval, but it didn't seem life threatening.

As I've posted before, I'm a fan of WM. There prices are often high, but not as often as the internet gurus make out. We have a super sized WM here and I would go browse for an hour right now, if I could. That has value to me. Touching and feeling the product does too. I abhor the practice of trying on a pair of gloves or a jacket at WM and then ordering it online from a competitor. Feels dishonest. That was value the internet didn't provide.

WM has stumbled overall this past year. Still high profitable, but same store sales are pretty flat. They had trouble with their own internet platform early in the year.

I'm not so sure about this "water life" approach to the stores. They are in process of bring more things like scuba equip and not just boating parts. We'll see.

In the end, I go to the store routinely. Especially, when I need something right now. Or my fav is to browse when the weather is bad and my wife won't go sit in the pub with me quite yet.

I did just order some repair parts for my jabsco head and whale sump pumps that only WM had. I can call the folks at the parts counter in the back and they will look up just about any obscure part and find it for me.
 
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I enjoy wandering their local super store and I used to spend a lot of money with West Marine, enough that I always had a bunch of those rewards coupons.

That's changed completely over the past two years. I'm so rarely in a WM store these days that I found a bunch of expired WM Rewards coupons in a desk drawer.

It seems the past two CEOs have had no concept of the industry they're serving. I've heard two store managers openly criticize the new CEO who supposedly comes from an Internet retail background. He seems intent on focusing on short term gains at the expense of their long term business.

Why I stopped shopping at West Marine
- Cheap Chinese junk sold at top dollar. If you're going to be the Harbor Freight of marine chandlers don't charge me Festool prices.

- Prices on common items have gone from expensive to OUTRAGEOUS. Compare a can of Rust-Oleum spray paint $5.76 at Home Depot to the same can at $15.49 at West Marine! That's 300% higher.

This same is true when comparing West Marine to other specialty retailers. When I needed a fresh water pump for our boat two seasons ago I was able to buy TWO pumps from Scott RV for less than the cost of one pump at West Marine. Same part number.

- A focus away from marine parts and supplies onto clothing and lifestyle. In fact about the only time we stop at WM now is if we're driving by one and my wife wants to check out clothing.

- Knowledge. The teenage girl in the store is pleasant and she's perfect for helping my wife pick out clothing but she doesn't have any knowledge of boats - though I'm sure she's paid much less per hour than the guys who used to work there and were experienced boaters.

- Reduced inventory and clearancing off old parts increases short term profits (short term income and you're not replacing back stock). But if every time I go into WM the answer is "we'll have to special order that for you" they offer NO advantage over online while charging a higher price.

The business school perspective is if you can reduce the "time to turn" stock it's a good thing. In this market you drive customers away.

- Banks don't even keep bankers hours anymore. The local West Marine stores are open 10am - 5pm. That means I can't go after work. There isn't a WM near our boat so it's an hour and a half to two hour round trip to WM with weekend summer traffic. That's a big chunk out of your day.

Most importantly I have a local alternative.
 

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Just like Walmart, WM swept through the country buying out or putting all the other chandlers out of business. Whenever they close a store, it's like sticking up their middle finger at all their customers, because their monopoly leaves nobody left to supply the customers.
Ain't capitalism great?
The Return of the Independent
The frustration you see with people venting online means a real opportunity for the little guys.

There's an old time hardware store near our marina. They also sell marine parts and supplies. Over the past few years that's gone from a part of their business to a huge addition on the store for marine supplies to building a much larger store to handle the marine business. The owner told me flat out it's because people are so frustrated with West Marine.

So what's his formula for success? He has a lot of stock. Real marine quality parts. The owner, his son and the other gentleman who work there are extremely knowledgeable. Ask for a bronze, left handed, thermo-widget and they'll walk you right to it on the shelf.

Need an individual tap, odd sized drill bit, or a small tube of 5200? No problem and the price won't make you curse out loud.

It's called customer service and when you find it you realize just how much you missed it.

Guess who gets ALL of my boat bucks now :D
 
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