West Marine opens first Massachusetts flagship store

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WOBURN, Mass. - West Marine held the grand opening of its first flagship store in Massachusetts Thursday with a media luncheon and events that will continue through the weekend.

The 23,000-square-foot store in Woburn is a former Office Depot, and the conversion took about five weeks, according to store manager Barbara Miele. The location also is a hub for Port Supply, West Marine's wholesale division.

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"It's a different dynamic," said Mike Dahill, market team manager for Port Supply. "Dad comes in for a bilge pump, Mom goes to apparel and the kids go to the water toys. A $100 pump turns into a much larger sale."

West Marine closed two smaller locations - one in Peabody and one in Woburn - in creating the flagship, according to Barry Kelley, Port Supply vice president. "It's a longer drive for Peabody customers but a much better selection," he said.

The Woburn store employs 38 people and West Marine employs 160 associates in the Bay State, according to the company.

Fishing is one of the main focuses at the store, where nearly 300 rods are on display. "We have 100-plus reels at the Fishing Shack," Miele said.

The selection caters to both salt- and freshwater anglers, she said, as the location is convenient to lakes and coastal areas. "The entire staff of the Woburn West Marine is eager to serve the needs of boaters and anglers from Boston up to the New Hampshire and Maine coastlines," she said.

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The parts counter serves retail and wholesale customers and has mechanics on staff to provide expertise.

Weekend events include electronics demonstrations, a Harken winch grinder competition and raffles, as well as giveaways and discounts on purchases. A small boat show will be staged in the parking lot. "It gives us a chance to help our wholesale customers," Kelley said.

Among the Boston-area businesses exhibiting boats are Bosun's Marine, Winter Island Yacht Yard, Eastern Boats and Advantage Yacht Sales.

Store hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the address is 299 Mishawum Road.

— Michael LaBella

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