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Old 29-12-2009, 19:16   #16
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I always try to buy from the local marine supply store instead of WM, even if that means paying a few more bucks for something (within reason). Not that I have anything against WM, but I always try to support small businesses in lieu of the big guys...
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Old 29-12-2009, 19:46   #17
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West Marine/Port Supply

I have had a Port Supply account at West Marine for years. Originally the discount was significant, especially on speciality items, (one year I even got a 10% rebate on my year's purchases) but now the discount is based on your total purchases over time. My big purchase days are over, and now the card is hardly worth using at all.

But our West Marine store is changing. The personnel are far less knowledgeable of their products and of sailing/cruising in general. Except for the store manager, you are pretty much on your own. That was not the case in the past.

Their merchandize is also changing. They are beginning to focus on clothes, fishing gear, wake boards, and novelty items. Every time I am in the store it seems more and more aisles are taken over by this fluff.

But this is probably understandable and inevitable. They are a business, and they must cater to the market or fail. Whether we sailors/cruisers like it or not, we are a dying breed. Like aviation and other expensive activities, there is a graying of sailor/cruisers. We are getting older, and fewer young people are coming onboard to continue our game.
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Old 29-12-2009, 20:06   #18
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G'Day All,

I've been buying stuff from WM since it was called West Coast Ropes and was located in a garage in Palo Alto CA. For year they were competitive in price, and grew apace. Along the way they developed some truly excellent customer relations policies, and dealing with them was a pleasure, if not always the absolutely lowest pricing.

Then they went public, and from my perspective, over expanded. Further as they drove their smaller competitors under, their pricing became less and less favorable, to the point that when in the US I try to buy anywhere other than WM.

But, when out of the country, I find it worthwhile to use them because of their generous and competent service for us cruisers. I've had them send replacement bits for things failing under waranty with no questions, and no worry about returning the defective units. They maintain toll free phone lines to many countries, and have folks who really know how to expedite shipments.

So, for me, when I know what I want and can reasonably do internet shopping I try to save some bucks, but when I feel I might need some down-line service, it's off to WM every time.

Finally, I reckon that allowing ones opinion of a political/social stance of a firms CEO drive your shopping is a bit OTT!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Manly Qld Oz
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Old 29-12-2009, 20:23   #19
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It can be your little guy near your marina.

Just go in talk to them and tell them about your project(s) or if you are a professional tell them roughly how much you spent for parts over a year.

If you aren't too obnoxious. They might work with you.
(Then do them a favor and tell your friends)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer View Post
Take antifreeze for example.

$3.99 for pink
with Port Supply card?
$3.99

What they do is give you a discount of the MFR suggested retail price of
$4.99

Their pricing is erratic and no help to the professional IMHO

I made arrangements with another supplier. I get 20% off EVERYTHING
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Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
And what supplier might that be?
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Old 30-12-2009, 05:07   #20
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I just paid $104 for LED replacement lights, would have cost me $196 without Port Supply card. Some things you can save big, some not so big, you need to shop. I am an on-line shopper myself. Saved big time on my solar panels and Waeco freezer.
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Old 30-12-2009, 05:45   #21
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I was looking for a wind generator and shopping online I found an Air X 400 watt at Home depot for just over $500 even other places online sell the same for around $1,000.

Yes I know there will be some one that will go look and come back saying the is a landbased unit, but if you take the modle number and go to AirX site it is the same unit as the Marine unit.

I agree shop online.

Dutch
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Old 30-12-2009, 06:26   #22
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As a former employee I will tell you that they are on a balance beam which seems to work for them. The pricing thing has got them losing business for sure and I am very suprised that no one has really come on to challenge their retail locations. They seem to carry less now in the stores so I have been going online. My online choices have all been great but here are my top three:
1) www.promarineshop.com (Sails and Sailboat Hardware)
2) www.defender.com (Clothing)
3) www.jamestowndistributors.com (Boat Repair)
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Old 30-12-2009, 13:43   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalusk View Post
But our West Marine store is changing. The personnel are far less knowledgeable of their products and of sailing/cruising in general. Except for the store manager, you are pretty much on your own. That was not the case in the past.

Their merchandize is also changing. They are beginning to focus on clothes, fishing gear, wake boards, and novelty items. Every time I am in the store it seems more and more aisles are taken over by this fluff.
West Marine is following the "Radio Shack" business model. You used to go to Radio Shack for solder, resistors and diodes to build your own circuit boards. Now, all they sell are cell phones and toy robots, and their sale staff are all but inert. The electronic components have been relagated to a small cabinet, at the back of the store.

I'm very fortunate to have an old-style chandlery in Annapolis for my needs. Whatever they don't have, the internet fills the gap.

Partially for kicks, I bought an antique-y looking Weems and Plath oil yacht lamp last night. I also wanted something durable that would give off light, heat, and use no electricity. They have a cool selection of antiques and used gear as well.
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Old 30-12-2009, 15:19   #24
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I have a WM in our marina so its very convienent. I always check online to find the best prices and I'd say about 50/50 WM has the best price. plus i get 5% back in WM rewards and i wait for the 15% off sales to buy large items. Also, personally our WM is very friendly! I tell them what i am trying to do and they are always very helpful and accept returns with no hassel. I am pro-West Marine!

and no i dont work there either or have a port supply card. and i do admit that they dont always have the best price.

MichaelMRC here is a portable battery charger i bought (not from WM) and like alot.
Amazon.com: Schumacher SSC-1500A Ship 'N' Shore Speed Charge Charger: Automotive
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Old 30-12-2009, 15:42   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bright Eyes View Post
I have a WM in our marina so its very convienent. I always check online to find the best prices and I'd say about 50/50 WM has the best price. plus i get 5% back in WM rewards and i wait for the 15% off sales to buy large items. Also, personally our WM is very friendly! I tell them what i am trying to do and they are always very helpful and accept returns with no hassel. I am pro-West Marine!

and no i dont work there either or have a port supply card. and i do admit that they dont always have the best price.

MichaelMRC here is a portable battery charger i bought (not from WM) and like alot.
Amazon.com: Schumacher SSC-1500A Ship 'N' Shore Speed Charge Charger: Automotive
I have to agree with Bright Eyes. West Marine is my local chandlery. They don't always have the best price and I buy commonly online but when I am at the boat and need something they are there, reasonably stocked and of consistent quality. They employ locals, many of them are boaters themselves. Some that are transients like many folks here.
They aren't stocked near as well as they used to be but that is probably a problem with all stores that have an internet presence not just marine stores.
I also don't mind Lowes and Home Depot either so it may just be my nature.

Jim
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Old 30-12-2009, 15:47   #26
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I like these guys

Harbour Chandler Nanaimo's Marine Supply Store

They have always treated me good even though I'm under 50 and look like a vagrant. Mike came to my boat to help me hook up my radar after I F***ed up the instal no charge.
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Old 30-12-2009, 15:51   #27
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i agree harbour chandler matches stevestons pricing or anyone elses and the service is far better. the staff is far more knowledgeable as well.
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Old 30-12-2009, 16:47   #28
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If you want to buy from another source, feel free to do so!
Nobody said that you had to buy everything from Walmart. Part of the fun of shopping is finding the better deals!

Randy started his company in Palo Alto, Calif. (nee Silcon Valley) selling rope from his garage in the late '60's or early '70's. His first store is still about two miles from HP's Corp. HQ.
Their policy on returned items is un-matched, as is their hiring former cruisiers to assit newbies, IMHO.
They have a Port Supply warehouse in Puerto Rico, that you can order from via the Internet. In the Carib, Budget Marine and Island Water World stock many products from this store.
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Old 17-01-2010, 17:15   #29
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And my point of view is that if I have to go find a better price someplace else then I will buy it there. If WM was treating people right they would have priced it right in the first place. After all with the volumes they purchase they're getting the best cost price out there. I have yet been painted into a corner where I had to spend a penny there. Being in the sailboat refurb business I have searched out all kinds of alternative suppliers for my needs. Yes, I am a hater too.
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Old 17-01-2010, 17:32   #30
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I have a West Marine store within yelling distance of my boat. If I can find it cheaper online and print it out, they will match the price. I don't know about elsewhere, but here in Alabama the folks at West are great and go out of thier way to be helpful. No they are not always cheapest, but they either have it or can get it.
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