Business: West Marine
Location: 258 New Road, Somers Point
Owner: West Marine Inc.
Store manager: Chuck Stuchel, 52, of Linwood
Employees: 12 seasonally
West Marine has more than 300 stores in 38 states, as well as online and catalog sales. West Marine has been around since the 1970s.
We have an exceptional selection of boating products. We stock 75,000 and have many more available through special vendors.
We have everything for boats. Our key department, because of our location, is a fishing theme, but we carry everything from paint for the bottom to anchors to seats.
We’ve built our business on service and make sure customers have the parts they need to enjoy their boating experience, and enhance their boats.
Another big area is watersports, with water skis and tubes. We also sell paddleboards, inflatable boats and dinghies.
Some of the services we offer are the West Advantage Program, in which customers can earn 4 percent back in rewards. We also have a Plus Plan that protects customers’ investments in electronics.
We acquired this store in 1998. The way West Marine grew is by acquiring other marine companies. In our case, the store was an E&B Marine store.
We reorganized and expanded to better serve our customers. We have 14 associates with more than 411 years of combined boating, fishing and sailing experience.
We created a brand consistency in our store so that it looks the same as when you walk into one of our stores in Florida.
One area we expanded was our For The Boater section, which has technical boating apparel.
We added about 900 square feet to the store and added a much larger fishing area. We modernized the look with lighting, fixtures and signage.
We worked through the renovation. It was a great team effort since we did this in the big part of our season in April and May.
We tore out all of the old drop ceilings and the electricians had to remove a lot of abandoned wiring from the old stores. Then we had to install new and do a lot of repainting. Now it’s a pleasure to come into work.
The future: West Marine is continuing to build flagship stores in various markets. Our store was actually a test in how to revitalize the older stores and bring them up to a modern standard and brand consistency.