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Old    Tim (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       09-23-2013, 11:14 AM Reply   
I just spent the last month fixing up a 20 foot aluminum boat with a 90 HP Mercury for fishing and hunting. New floor, console, seating, electrical, numbers, depth finders, fasteners, chargers, nonskid, epoxy, stereo, pumps, batteries, lighting, rod holders....a whole bunch of different things. Because of the amount of different stuff that went into the project, I paid attention to the material pricing.

Living in South Florida means there is a lot of local marine parts purchase options. West Marine, Salvage Yards, BOW, Merritt Supply, Walmart...plus the online options like Amazon. What I found was that West Marine's pricing is out of control. They are typically 2 times the price of all other offerings from the simplest items to most complex and their employees all know this. In their largest store (superstore) there were always more staff than shoppers. Between work and home I can easily hit 4 different West Marine stores and I would always ask about the high prices and the employees chuckled, shrugged their shoulders or seemed embarrassed.

I understand in many places West is the only option and as nice as it is to have a local emergency supply option but their price structure is a mess. I will try every option to avoid their store and now I almost refuse to spend money at their stores. If nothing else, online options will put them out of business. Too bad for all us needing parts.
Old    Andy Graham (ottog1979)      Join Date: Apr 2007       09-23-2013, 11:19 AM Reply   
Same story here in San Diego. Nice stores, visiting them is fun. But I try not to buy there.
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       09-23-2013, 11:56 AM Reply   
Yeah... We had boaters world here in Texas for a while... Great store.. Great Prices..... West marine is like bad medicine..
Old    210 SANTE (Paxdad)      Join Date: Jun 2013       09-23-2013, 12:01 PM Reply   
Same in Atlanta vicinity. I will not buy anything there boat related.............
Old    Eric (DenverRider)      Join Date: Feb 2013       09-23-2013, 12:33 PM Reply   
Add to that the fact that they stock the most cheaply made Chinese imports to stock their shelves with. It's like what I imagine Wal-Mart would be like if they didn't have any competition. Makes sense since they are basically the Wal-Mart of the boating world which also happens to be such a niche market that they don't have much competition. I use Valentine Marine here in CO when I can because, even though they aren't much better, it is a local company. So I get ripped off by someone who lives in town instead of a multi national that's probably owned by foreigners for all I know.
Old    RB (boardman74)      Join Date: Jul 2012       09-23-2013, 1:03 PM Reply   
Only was to buy anything at West is via price match. They will price match so just bring your adds. Heck one of the stores in Florida the manager I knew would search the internet for me!!
Old    TigeMike (chpthril)      Join Date: Oct 2007       09-23-2013, 1:11 PM Reply   
Not to be insulting, but I think you have it backwards. its not the brick and mortar retail outlet thats out of control on their pricing, its the online retail that zero overhead, limited zero employees, no upfront cost of stocking inventory, etc, etc, who sells at or below a wholesale price. They sell cheaper, but are actually making more net profit.
Old    David (DavidAnalog)      Join Date: Sep 2013       09-23-2013, 1:28 PM Reply   
There are several West Marines in my DFW area. I can't speak for all WM stores in all areas, but there seems to be one guy, whether manager or an elder sales associate, that can answer just about any question on any product or material related to boating....solvents, adhesives, etc. I'm sure that experiences vary with each store and store associate. But when I find that guy, I am more than happy to pay them/their company for their knowledge and experience. What I will not do is take up their time, siphon off their knowledge and experience, and then go buy the item on-line for cheaper.
Old     (nitrousbird)      Join Date: Sep 2008       09-24-2013, 2:54 AM Reply   
I have found the people at the local West Marine don't know much. Price is bad on most things (they do have few exceptions). I avoid the place for the most part.
Old    Kevin MacDonald (kmac1587)      Join Date: Sep 2012       09-24-2013, 5:44 AM Reply   
Im in NH and its the same story up here. Unfortunately in my area there aren't a ton of options within 30 minutes so I have had to shop there a few times. I will say the best experience I had there was picking up the replacement bearing/hub for my trailer. The entire kit was priced decently.
Old    Cory D (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       09-27-2013, 9:26 AM Reply   
West Marine is expensive, I only use them if there's something I need quickly. Otherwise I order online. Used to be Boaters World which seemed to have reasonable prices only slightly higher than online, but they went out of business so West is the only game in town now.
Old    Tim (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       09-30-2013, 11:52 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by chpthril View Post
Not to be insulting, but I think you have it backwards. its not the brick and mortar retail outlet thats out of control on their pricing, its the online retail that zero overhead, limited zero employees, no upfront cost of stocking inventory, etc, etc, who sells at or below a wholesale price. They sell cheaper, but are actually making more net profit.
Not in my neighborhood. I can go to a number of local boating retailers and crush West's price. If they can do it, West, with their better buying power, should be able to price better as well. I think their answer to failing market share is to just increase their prices.

Regardless, if they don't address the internet retailer they will be out of business. West does have an internet site as well. Perhaps those operations needs to be integrated into the stores.

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