West Marine opens Florida flagship store

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121010westmarineA 21,000-square-foot West Marine store opened Thursday in Sarasota, Fla., becoming the sixth flagship store for the provider of marine supplies and equipment.

“We’re aggressive and we believe in the future, and we have the resources to do [this],” West Marine president and CEO Geoff Eisenberg said at a grand-opening celebration Thursday. “We’re interested in growing the company and doing a better job. We try to be smart with what we do, but you have to move forward and be assertive.”

West Marine also has flagships – stores larger than 20,000 square feet – in Brick, N.J., Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville, Fla., San Diego and Newport, R.I. West Marine had been underserving the Sarasota-area market, Eisenberg says.

“The market is big enough,” he says. “We know there is potential. The challenge is every area [of the country] is different. Every one of our stores is different because every market is different.”

West Marine has closed its two smaller stores in Sarasota. The flagship store, which has about 40 employees, will focus on fishing gear and electronics, store general manager Wayne Seel says. It also will stock engine parts and supplies.

“We have many parts-type items, like you would see in an auto parts store, that are for engines because there is a lot of do-it-yourself in this area and wholesale trade,” Eisenberg says.

The Sarasota location at 4708 South Tamiami Trail at the intersection of Proctor Road also will serve as a regional hub for Port Supply, the wholesale division of West Marine. Its customers include boatyards, boatbuilders, boat dealers, service shops and charter boats. The hub will service businesses from Crystal River to Marco Island.

Grand-opening activities will continue through the weekend. About 20 boats from southwest Florida dealers are being displayed in the parking lot. The brands include Pursuit, Grady-White, Andros Boatworks and Mojito Boats.

Discounts on products will be available, and experts will be on hand to coach boat owners about maximizing performance.

— Chris Landry

Senior Reporter

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3 comments on “West Marine opens Florida flagship store

  1. still sailing

    More super sizing and less local service and access…yep, that sounds like a great plan for a retail store serving a recreational sport.
    In our area West is closing the local store fronts and telling people to drive two towns over to visit.
    The good news is the local boat yards are now able to re-stock their own shelves and regain the customers they lost to “big Blew”.
    Now that is a positive change!  The West stores opened too late and close too early to provide a good fit to the boating public anyway – who wants to wait until 10am for something when boat time is already too short.
    Maybe their plans work in Florida and Southern California…and they can keep those over-crowded markets and bad hair cuts to them selves

  2. john ennis

    Bigger does not mean better. They have a stranglehold on many markets and their prices reflect that. Having bought out the viable competion  they all but sail the sea alone knowing that in these economic times  major competition will be non-existant. Sarasota is a big sailing community but “Old Blew” is apparently blowing that off. May they hang on their own yardarms.

  3. Jonathan Andrews

    Did you see the staff at the Sarasota store? They’re all teenagers. Sure they’re nice, but they don’t know squat about boats or have any experience with boating. I don’t want my butt kissed. I just want to find what I need without all of the glad handing.

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