West Marine is best described by its mission statement “to be the best supplier of boating-related products and services that provide outstanding value to every Customer”. With its commitment to always providing the most outstanding customer care service, customers of West Marine have long regarded the company as exceptional and the rewards to the firm have been great.
While now one of the largest supply retailers in boating, the original firm was created in a garage in Sunnyvale, California. Randy Repass, the founder and chairman chose his passion and love of boating over his then job at a Silicon Valley technology firm. In 1968 nylon tope by mail order was one of the first services provided and carried the name West Coast Ropes.
The opportunity then presented itself to improve shopping for boating supplies and 1975 Mr. Repass was led to open the first ever West Coast Ropes store. This establishment not only supplied the famous quality rope they were already well known form, but also stocked the basic supplies needed for boating, which included anchors and fenders.
The variety of items stocked at the store improved as more and more customers discovered West Marine over time. The name West Marine was introduced to the public in 1977 when the company acquired some assets from the Boston-based West Products, the new name reflecting the expansion in its business.
A wholesale division of West Marine was introduced in 1978 called Port Supply, as this allowed the sale of the various products directly to boat yards, charter fleets, government accounts and boat dealers. The years 1991 and 1993 respectively are memorable to West Marine for not only did it open the first stores on the East Coast in Miami and Annapolis but also expanded to Florida, Virginia and New York – amongst other places.
Furthermore, the company went public on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol of WMAR. West Marine went on to form a merger with one of its most respected competitors – E&B marine – as both had the same target customers. This merger combined the individual strengths of the two companies into a one stop-shopping destination for boating supplies.
West Marine marked yet another remarkable and historic milestone in 2003 when it acquired the retail and catalog divisions of its long-time competitor Boat U.S. Mr. Repass proudly stated that the two companies shared a foundation that was built on knowledge and a customer first attitude, and were therefore perfect fit.
Now with over Three Hundred (300) stores in thirty-eight (38) states, Puerto Rico and Canada West Marine now carries more than Fifty Thousand (50,000) products. These range from the rope that was sold from its inception, all the way up to the latest in the marine electronics industry. They even carry boating fridges such as the Engel refrigerator lineup.
In addition to its retail stores and Port Supply wholesale divisions, the company now serves boaters in excess of One Hundred and Fifty (150) countries worldwide through its mail order service and Internet marketing divisions.
West Marine is heavily relied upon for its superb customer service, selection and quality all of which has always been its anchor. Shoppers for boating goods can rest assured they are a retailer that can be relied upon.