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Old 23-02-2014, 16:13   #1
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Good Experience at West Marine

I have really done any significant shopping at West Marine, and I've read plenty of negative things on here about this establishment.

I am in the U.S. and had intended to bring a few things back for my boat, but got too busy to order them online. So in desperation, I ended up in the West Marine here in Portland, Oregon.

I was really pleasantly surprised at the high quality of the service -- in the course of a couple of visits, I spoke with several WM sales people, and all were knowledgeable and passionate boaters, eager to discuss anything and everything marine, and with lots of useful advice.

Besides that, the price of what I ended up buying (B&G Triton display) was the same as the online price from Defender. They refused to match the Star Marine Depot price, but the price was still quite ok from a bricks & mortar shop where real advice is given by real people. The Tritons are hot sellers and are out of stock in a lot of places. In fact, they couldn't find one at the store I visited, despite showing one in stock on their computer, but to avoid my going away empty-handed, they broke open a B&G wind kit and sold me the Triton out of that -- excellent service.

In general a quite satisfactory experience.
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Old 23-02-2014, 17:04   #2
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

Our WM in Sugar Hill, GA (Near Lake Lanier) has always provided great customer service. And I've been impressed with the knowledge of the staff as well! For mail order, Defender is usually a bit cheaper. But sometimes you just want to actually touch the product before you buy it, so I'm willing to pay a bit more to get it at the store on the way to the lake!
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Old 23-02-2014, 17:21   #3
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

I have yet to find better pricing at West Marine. I was there today and found prices 30% higher than Defender pricing on most items. This was a big WM store in Westbrook, CT and when I asked about price matching Defender prices, I got a glare over the merchants glasses. I don't understand why folks shop there.
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Old 23-02-2014, 17:53   #4
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

I find the customer service at our nearest West Marine store in Stratford Ct top notch and also at the store in Norwalk Ct the same.
However their prices are usually 10 to 30 percent higher I find and rarely buy anything there if I do not need it that day or am unsure if it will fit. They can afford to price higher because of name requisition and convenience.
Shopping for lowest price online is a wonderful thing if you can wait for the part and if the right part shows up at your door.
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Old 23-02-2014, 17:55   #5
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

fully stocked and great service and prices at the Toronto Store......I also visited the one in Newbedford Mass.....as well great service
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Old 23-02-2014, 18:10   #6
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

Oh:

Oh good

or

Oh No.

Here we go again.

It's so nice when someone says something good.

Keep it up.
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Old 23-02-2014, 18:22   #7
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

I shop for the best prices sometimes and there are other times when I'm buying for quick convenience. Sometimes the best deal leads me to West Marine and sometimes the convenience brings me there. I buy at other places too. I recognize the common trait for people to speak poorly of the most common source for goods or a service. I don't fall into this common behavior and I often return to West Marine.
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Old 23-02-2014, 19:20   #8
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chenega View Post
I have yet to find better pricing at West Marine. I was there today and found prices 30% higher than Defender pricing on most items. This was a big WM store in Westbrook, CT and when I asked about price matching Defender prices, I got a glare over the merchants glasses. I don't understand why folks shop there.
I think for some people (at least for me) it depends on where the advantage comes from. the closest WM store for me is an hour away. Depending on what I'm getting and how much I plan on spending, I compare whether it will cost less in the long run between the amount of gas to drive to the store or how much shipping charges would be.

I've been to the "local" WM store a few times and have not had any problems finding what I'm there for. Otherwise, I normally shop around between Defender, Jamestown Distributors or Hopkins Carter.
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Old 23-02-2014, 20:43   #9
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

On a lot of small stuff their prices are way higher than my local home-grown chandler but on big items they are competitive. My 55Lb Delta was cheaper from them compared to local chandler. They gave me 25% discount when I ordered more than 300 feet of G4 chain while local guy would not. The local guy sells Victory and SeaDog hardware. Bought some barrel bolts, SeaDog I think, which were labeled "chrome plated brass". Well after mounting them ouiside the boat I discoverd only the body was plated brass and the bolt was plain steel. Went to West Marine and bought solid brass barrel bolts. West doesn't sell junk. I think service is pretty good in terms of stuff they have brought in for me. Pretty small store here so I can't expect too much. Wonder where the largest West Marine store is located? I have been in the San Diego store and that is way bigger than ours and the biggest I have seen.
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Old 23-02-2014, 20:57   #10
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

I've spent a lot of money at West Marine. They are helpful and diligent employees. The selection is huge and they go the extra mile to help me with my various projects.
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Old 23-02-2014, 21:08   #11
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

My last three tries at West Marine:

Bought three 12 volt light bulbs for the ancient light fixtures in the salon. They were about $4 each. They were so poorly made that one of the bulbs separated out of its metal socket as I screwed it in. WM very pleasantly refunded the money. Looked at their LED fixtures which were three times as expensive as nicer ones I later found on eBay.

Shore power cord was $149 at WM. Same cord was $109 at Defender, arrived in two days. I really like Defender.

Bought a boat trailer, the PO had just put on bearing buddies. One fell off on the way home. Picked up a new pair (only sold in pairs) for $27 at WM as it was 7pm. The (very friendly) seemingly experienced employee came out to the trailer to tell me which size I needed. When I tried to put it on before launching the boat to go fishing it was the wrong size. At 7am the next morning I was waiting for the local Ace Marine Hardware to open up, the guy behind the desk had a caliper to measure the hub, showed me how to do it and had the part I needed for $4. Took the wrong sized covers back to WM and showed them the receipt from the other place. Very annoying.

Most of the time I try to avoid the place, but they do keep late hours which can be helpful.
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Old 24-02-2014, 04:20   #12
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

I've been pleasantly surprised over the last few years when I've found things at WM that were as cheap as, or cheaper than, on line. I've also noticed lately that Defender is coming into line with the rest of the retailers, price-wise. They used to be my go-to for everything, but lately they don't seem to have what I need, or the price isn't as good as it used to be.

Back to WM. There is value to me in having a couple of stores within a 15-30 minute drive of my boat that stock most of the normal things people need on short notice. I've never had a problem with the staff. If one didn't know an answer, they'd hunt down the person who did. Lately, they've had reasonable prices on big-ticket items, too. I've even ordered things through them because it was cheaper than paying shipping.

I bought my GPS/Radar there because they had the same price as everyone else.
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Old 24-02-2014, 04:47   #13
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

West Marine has a rigging shop that is accessed by telephone. (It's also Port Supply rigging) I think that it's physically located in South Carolina. You and the rigger design the item or running rigging, line size, eye splice, line ends, ect. put it on the credit card and it's sent within a week. Pricing is competitive. Very satisfactory.
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Old 24-02-2014, 04:57   #14
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

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Originally Posted by gordwedman View Post
... Wonder where the largest West Marine store is located? I have been in the San Diego store and that is way bigger than ours and the biggest I have seen.
West Marine opened the biggest boating store in the U.S. (50,000 sq ft) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2011.
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Old 24-02-2014, 05:59   #15
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Re: Good Experience at West Marine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chenega View Post
I have yet to find better pricing at West Marine. I was there today and found prices 30% higher than Defender pricing on most items. This was a big WM store in Westbrook, CT and when I asked about price matching Defender prices, I got a glare over the merchants glasses. I don't understand why folks shop there.
You get a glare from the WM Westbrook folks because the Defender warehouse is 10 minutes away from them, lol. If you want amazing customer service, hit up Defender there. The most knowledgeable bunch of chandlery folks you'll find, particularly in electronics. They can be super busy but they know their stuff. By the way, the WM store in Westbrook is the biggest I've ever been in. Makes the one here in Annapolis look like a shoebox.

Honestly, I think the service at WM is top notch. The issue is prices, which can vary wildly from product to product. Sometimes they are the lowest, or as low as others like Defender. In other cases they are way high. Friends don't let friends buy Rotella at WM, for example, when you can get it for about half the price at Walmart.
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