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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

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SCUBA at WM??
Wouldn't that be like sourcing spacesuits at Advance Auto?

Sorry.....dive gear is already spendy enuff (as I recall). No need to drive it up more ;)
 

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Considering the knowledge and expertise of most WM employees, I rather doubt I'd feel comfortable having anyone I care for getting information about scuba gear or getting refills from what is pretty much a convenient boutique marine store.
 

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The article said that SSI and Mares are "test marketing a new scuba shop." To me that implies that it will be run by their people, not West Marine's sales associates. Sort of like the veterinarians inside Pet Smart.

I think we're looking for issues before there are any.
 

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I suspect the logic is "Divers often have boats. Divers go to a store for air, sometimes every week. Gee...if we serviced divers, we could get more boat owners to stop by West every week, and then they might buy stuff for their boats while they were here."

The logic might work, depending on the cost of adding dive services to a store.

"Leave scuba to shops that have expertise and training and well kept equipment. " Oh, right, like there are any of those on this planet? Come up to the northeast, plenty of gen-you-whine certified shops give short fills, dirty fills, outright lie about VIPs being necessary, outright lie about plus hydro....

You get better odds on the local indy gas station having a clean restroom. Sad to say.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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There was a sport store in San Diego (can't remember the name, but it was like Sports Authority) that had its own scuba shop, which rented tanks and such, but they didn't do more advanced stuff like hydrotesting. I could see West Marine similarly broadening their horizons because many people are more likely to go to specialty online stores and local marine chandleries than WM for high end sailing components. A salesman in the Sausalito store last year told me they're moving away from sailing and into equipment that's focused on "water sports" such as SUPs and kayaking. Given the beechin everyone gives WM about boating products, it's probably a good business decision.
 

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"but they didn't do more advanced stuff like hydrotesting"
AFAIK no SCUBA shops do hydro testing. You need equipment and a trained operator, so they always job it out to the local extinguisher companies, who do enough volume to justify the equipment.
The only real question is how much to mark it up and how fast to turn it around. In the northeast, the SCUBA shops also all play dumb and claim you need a VIP with the hydro. Wrong, DOT regulations require the hydro shop to actually perform the VIP before any hydro testing is done. Less chance of it blowing up in their faces that way.
The Three Stooges once did a piece about a law firm named "Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe". West could easily do better than the average hungry small owned SCUBA shop.
 

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Looking at the Snow Sport industry ie ski and snowboarding. A number of the block sport stores sell snow gear. As noted, mostly intro to mid level stuff. If you want the really good stuff, you have to for the most part, go to local specialty shops or the ski area if they have a shop. For what it is worth, I've been a ski teacher for over 30 yrs, highest level of certification, along with being an examiner with in the industry. I've also been working at WM in the wholesale side of things. I doubt the local I am at, has people on staff that can sell or do scuba. Other parts of the boating industry yes.....scuba, none of the employees scuba as I understand it.

I would suspect, you would see something equal if the local shops are smart. They will have entry stuff also, maybe some rental gear if that is done in the scuba industry etc too. This also includes better higher end clothing etc too.

Marty
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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AFAIK no SCUBA shops do hydro testing.
Yeah, you're right. Now that I think back on it, it was a VIP that was needed and another shop was able to turn it around by the next day. The point was that almost anyone can learn how to fill a tank, rent gear and sell a mask. If WM wants to do it, too, why not? It is a another nail in the coffin for the mom/pop shops, but it was already hard enough for them to stay in business. It's just another example of superwalmartisizing all our shopping needs.
 

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Certified Dive Masters that like to talk about diving and may want to work at WM are a dime a dozen. They're not going to have any more trouble finding help than the local shops. Quality help is the issue and most local shops are questionable from person to person as well.

I suspect they will find a niche, like they seem to with fishing gear and clothing.
 

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I suspect WM may even be a price competitor in this area. The only competition to speak of is in very small shops and their mark up has to be very high to pay the bills.
 

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The difference between West Marine and your local shop is West Marine will fill your tank with air imported from China...
 

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"West Marine will fill your tank with air imported from China... "
Is that like Chinese food? You know, you want more just an hour after you've had it?

WM and even WalMart already do sell "scuba" gear. USDivers masks, fins, snorkels, maybe Mares and Scubapro as well. Not a full line and not the high-end stuff to be sure, but once the brand is in the door....

And Walmart has openly said they want to challenge Amazon at being a logistics system for all kinds of retailers. Go to WalMart's web site and they're offering goods from thousands of other vendors, delivered to your home or your local store--in case you can't be home all day waiting for packages.
 

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Yeah, you're right. Now that I think back on it, it was a VIP that was needed and another shop was able to turn it around by the next day. The point was that almost anyone can learn how to fill a tank, rent gear and sell a mask. If WM wants to do it, too, why not? It is a another nail in the coffin for the mom/pop shops, but it was already hard enough for them to stay in business. It's just another example of superwalmartisizing all our shopping needs.
The store in San Diego you were referring to is Sport Chalet which is something like a cross between Sports Authority and REI. The Pt Loma store has a multistory pool in shop and a window into the pool along one of the store walls.
Although its relatively close, they don't pump Nitrox, the service is poor (ie VIPS, reg repairs etc, dry suit repairs, etc) and for the non-scuba stuff REI is better.
Sport Chalet has several stores in Southern Calif and everyone I have been in has a scuba shop.

My local dive shop does do their own hydros and does hydros for a good number of the other scuba stores in San Diego. Also many of the regulator repairs. They bank Nitrox 32. Just got 1 day turnaround without asking on the replacement of the neck seal on one of my drysuits. Tank VIPS are usually done while you wait. San Diego Divers - highly recommended.

Marc Hall
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37
 
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