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West Marine plans grand opening in Chicago

West Marine is opening a flagship store in Chicago and grand-opening events will begin April 23 and continue through April 26.

West Marine is opening a flagship store in Chicago and grand-opening events will begin April 23 and continue through April 26.

The retailer said the 20,000-square-foot location will be the largest West Marine store in the Midwest and will be nearly three times the size of the former North Avenue location.

The new store will include:

  • A dedicated engine parts counter
  • A marine electronics display with more than 100 units to touch and test
  • An expanded sailboat hardware selection
  • A dedicated Paddle World featuring kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and paddling accessories
  • 7,300 square feet of core boating products — bigger than the entire store that formerly occupied North Avenue
  • 4,700 square feet of apparel, footwear and clothing accessories
  • Port Supply hub for marine businesses

On April 23, Cruising for a Cause will raise money for local nautical nonprofits between 6 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and will include a drink and light hors d'oeuvres from Goose Island Brewery and jazz music by local artist Jo Ann Daugherty.

West Marine will donate all of the ticket proceeds and revenue to organizations that include Chicago Adventure Therapy; Chicago Voyager; Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation; Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Leukemia Cup Regatta; Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation; Sheridan Shore Sailing School; and the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club Junior Fleet.

The night will begin with a proclamation presentation and ribbon-cutting ceremony by Walter Burnett Jr., alderman of Chicago’s 27th Ward, and West Marine CEO Matt Hyde. Chicago Bears punter Pat O’Donnell will be the emcee.

On April 25, West Marine founder Randy Repass and author Sally-Christine Rodgers will provide tips and tricks for long-distance cruising at 10 a.m. The pair will discuss voyaging with their three children aboard their Wylie 65 cat ketch Convergence.

Repass will address the technical aspects of gearing up and setting sail and Rodgers will tackle some of the educational and emotional challenges a family faces on a long-distance cruise.

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