West Marine's History
Randy Repass was passionate about sailing but realized it was extremely difficult to get spares for his daysailer. In 1968, West Marine started as a company called West Coast Ropes selling nylon rope via mail order. The first store opened in 1975 at Palo Alto stocking nylon ropes and basic supplies including fenders and anchors. The store began selling electronic and safety supplies, equipment, and anti-fouling paint as well. West Products, a company based in Boston, sold some of its assets to the company, which then changed its name to West Coast Ropes in 1977. Port Supply was a wholesale division set up in 1978 dealing directly with chartered fleets, government agencies, and boat yards. By 1987, the company had set up around 15 stores mostly along the West Coast. Business was established on the East Coast in 1991 with initial stores at Maryland and Florida. The company went public in 1993. It merged with E&B Marine in 1996 and acquired the catalog and retail divisions of its competitor BoatU.S. in 2003. It was recognized as having the largest US boating store at Florida in 2011. The company now has more than 300 stores across 38 U.S. States, Canada, and Puerto Rico with a product list exceeding 75,000 items. Internet sales are conducted in 150 countries.
West Marine's Values
West Marine has a massive list of items for men and women including foul weather gear, rash guards, wet suits, clothing, and shoes. Special gear and accessories are supplied by top brands like Costa and BlackTip. Paints and solvents, fiberglass, deck hardware, and boat-cleaning supplies are sold. Customers can order spare parts for safety devices, fishing equipment, boat plumbing and ventilation, sailing instruments, and other essential items. Promotional activities like Do It Yourselfie are initiated via social media networks encouraging visitors to win gift cards. The company also holds contests like Deck Out Dad on Father's Day. A team of master riggers are available via The West Marine Rigging Service to customers save time over the extensive inventory and order blocks, hardware, equipment and apparel needed for offshore cruisers, high-tech dinghies, traditional sailboats, and racing boats. The BlueFuture Fund offers grants to non-profit organizations dealing with fishing and boating activities among the youth.
What makes West Marine's unique?
West Marine offers memberships under the West Advantage program. Buyers can enroll for Free, Silver, or Gold memberships. Points are accumulated for every purchase and converted into discount certificates. Members are also entitled for discounts on travel, magazine subscriptions, and Special Member benefits. The company has introduced a special PLUS Product Protection Plan covering electronic navigation and other supplies. Performance Guarantee ensures customers get a complete service plan. SelocCounterman is a unique search program allowing users to locate desired spare parts of boats dating back to the 1950s. Technical boating information is provided through a special section called West Adviser. Cruising journals maintained by Randy Repass and others like Pam Wall, John and Amanda Neal are accessible.