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Old 28-02-2015, 12:06   #181
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

Speaking to an ex WM exec a different explanation came aboard. Items are changing at a rapid pace. The "new and improved" version antiquates the old. Additionally, items from China are moving up and down in wholesale cost monthly. Being stuck with high volume of overpriced items would be a detriment while the online sources that "drop ship" and have no inventory would have a huge advantage over and above brick and mortar costs.
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Old 28-02-2015, 17:15   #182
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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-Snip-

Gone are the days when I would spend an hour walking in a hardware store trying to jerry-rig a number of items, otherwise independently, completely un-related to one-another, into a usable item of need.

The various components that in the past, held an almost sacred spot on some shelf in a not-often visited portion of the store, just are not profitable enough to be taking up the space anymore ... those days are pretty much gone, and I really miss them.
There's a store in Bellingham, Washington called Hardware Sales. May not be conveniently located for you, but when a good fix for Jules Goldberg kind of solutions is required there's no better place for it. Unless that is, the store is following the herd... Been nearly ten years since I've set foot in there and is one thing I miss about having lived in Bellingham and one reason if it weren't so damned cold in the winter I'd go back.
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Old 28-02-2015, 17:21   #183
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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Originally Posted by duefocena View Post
Speaking to an ex WM exec a different explanation came aboard. Items are changing at a rapid pace. The "new and improved" version antiquates the old. Additionally, items from China are moving up and down in wholesale cost monthly. Being stuck with high volume of overpriced items would be a detriment while the online sources that "drop ship" and have no inventory would have a huge advantage over and above brick and mortar costs.
Sounds like doublespeak. Why an "ex WM exec" and what was the exec's function there? West has probably taken advantage of the dollars strength against the Euro to buy sailboat hardware and other products manufactured in Europe. If they haven't they shoulda oughta done so.
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Old 28-02-2015, 18:04   #184
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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There's a store in Bellingham, Washington called Hardware Sales. May not be conveniently located for you, but when a good fix for Jules Goldberg kind of solutions is required there's no better place for it. Unless that is, the store is following the herd... Been nearly ten years since I've set foot in there and is one thing I miss about having lived in Bellingham and one reason if it weren't so damned cold in the winter I'd go back.
Bellingham has been in the 50s for weeks. Grab your t shirt and go. The daffodils are already out to greet you.
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Old 28-02-2015, 19:55   #185
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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Sounds like doublespeak. Why an "ex WM exec" and what was the exec's function there? West has probably taken advantage of the dollars strength against the Euro to buy sailboat hardware and other products manufactured in Europe. If they haven't they shoulda oughta done so.
Doesn't matter who the exec is or if he is even real. Inventory is the enemy of business. Turnover is key. This is business 101.

Inventory ties up capital
Inventory costs money to hold
Inventory gets old

Warehousers and drop-shippers have a huge advantage over storefronts.

Timing dollar/foreign exchange rates is not the game. If it was West Marine would take their umpty-gazzillion dollars in inventory and just invest in foreign currency trading. Lots easier to hold paper and pixels rather than stainless and electronics.

Not saying that for large companies currency hedging is not a strategy that needs to be evaluated.
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:20   #186
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

Use to work in a WM before we headed out. Now once a year we venture back to the USA to see kids and wander around a WM but most of what we need we have already ordered from Defender and shipped to the kids so we can pick up pack up and head back to the boat.

This year will be a first in Denver with the kids and a WM is not very far away so will be interesting as I am sure not a sailing thing in sight. I am surprised they even have a store in Denver.
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:11   #187
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Doesn't matter who the exec is or if he is even real. Inventory is the enemy of business. Turnover is key. This is business 101.

Inventory ties up capital
Inventory costs money to hold
Inventory gets old

Warehousers and drop-shippers have a huge advantage over storefronts.

Timing dollar/foreign exchange rates is not the game. If it was West Marine would take their umpty-gazzillion dollars in inventory and just invest in foreign currency trading. Lots easier to hold paper and pixels rather than stainless and electronics.

Not saying that for large companies currency hedging is not a strategy that needs to be evaluated.
seems like a chicken and egg thing to me.. yes inventory costs big time. .. but without customers walking in the door, inventory doesnt mean much if you dont have what the walk in customer wants. the customer will not walk in the door unless they have what he wants.

We boaters will only keep going there so long, walking out empty handed, before finding other places that have what we want, get in our hands faster, and often less expensively.

we boaters can only buy so much lifestyle stuff..maybe their target for the stores is now boater-wannabes. dont know. Lately, it is certainly less about boaters, and even less about sailors in the store now. If it works for them, all the power to them. I am just tired of walking out of the store empty handed when I am willing to pay WMs prices.
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Old 04-03-2015, 14:16   #188
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Just received email announcing our local WM is now officially closed.

It's a huge inconvenience because of the attention they gave our sailors. They were part of out community.

Sad it is.
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Old 04-03-2015, 19:44   #189
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

GreatKetch. Where is your WM? P.S. I love the name! Cute!
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Old 04-03-2015, 20:36   #190
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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There's a store in Bellingham, Washington called Hardware Sales. May not be conveniently located for you, but when a good fix for Jules Goldberg kind of solutions is required there's no better place for it. Unless that is, the store is following the herd... Been nearly ten years since I've set foot in there and is one thing I miss about having lived in Bellingham and one reason if it weren't so damned cold in the winter I'd go back.

Did you mean Rube Goldberg the inventor and cartoonist who created fancifully complicated machines?


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Old 05-03-2015, 07:53   #191
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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Originally Posted by Greatketch33 View Post
Just received email announcing our local WM is now officially closed.

It's a huge inconvenience because of the attention they gave our sailors. They were part of out community.

Sad it is.
And that is exactly the problem many of us see with West Marines move to being the next Ron Jon.

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Old 05-03-2015, 08:02   #192
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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Did you mean Rube Goldberg the inventor and cartoonist who created fancifully complicated machines?


S/V B'Shert
I guess so. When you're always Wrong, close is usually good enough.
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Old 02-05-2015, 09:57   #193
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

I stumbled on this forum and this thread and it is interesting to me because I currently work at WM and have for a number of years. I think I can shed some light on what is currently going at West and explain how it is going to change for us boaters.

The relatively new CEO, Matt Hyde, is not from a boating background, he headed up REI, a lifestyle/recreational corporation. IMO, he sees no value in keeping WM a marine supplier, but wants it to become a "Total lifestyle" operation.......ie, paddleboards, kayaks, clothing, etc. His logic is that the boating industry is flat growth wise, and if WM stays with just that market it will eventually die.

All that sounds good, but what does it mean for boaters, like us ? Well, for one thing it will mean that the stores will start looking more like the clothing dept at a mall store than a boating store. You may have already noticed that half the stores are now clothes and they are right up front, where you have to walk through them to get to the real boating supplies. That is the way ALL of the stores will soon look.

Another huge change is that employees who were very knowledgeable in marine parts and solutions to problems will be leaving..........I will probably be one of them sometime in the future. The "new" WM wants Associates who fit the new lifestyle program better than we who staffed the stores for years. They feel that younger, more hip Associates and Managers will be able to come on board with this new program better, so they are beginning to weed out employees who they feel do not fit this image. Even store managers are not safe from this change. The people who survive will be basically cheerleaders who applaud any decision the company makes or what they say.

What it is going to mean for boaters long term is that the Associates who actually had hands on knowledge and could solve your boating problems will not be in those stores so much any more. The one thing we always prided ourselves on, at the store level, was that we went way overboard to make sure our customers got the answers they needed and the parts that would actually work. I am not sure how the new, younger Associates, who know clothing, are going to solve a complex problem with a customer's on board water system, engine, or anything else mechanical. I have worked with a lot of younger people, and it takes years to learn this business, and they simply do not have that experience under their belts yet.

I have no hard feelings, WM was good to me for years, but I see the company making some decisions that I think they will regret in the future. They are throwing out the baby with the bath water by forgetting the boaters who built this company from the garage of Randy Repass to what it is today. I feel bad for customers who come in a year from now and need help from someone who knows how to fix the problem they have. All the new people will be able to do is show them the latest Spring fashions or tell them how cool the new line of paddleboards are.

There is also a new sell sell sell mentality, where Associates are told to lead customers into products that they had not thought about needing or buying. We are constantly having "chats" with our managers who ask us how we could have sold that last customer more than he or she bought, and how we can do better in the future. We have actually had customers tell us off because they felt we were being too pushy.........and I agree. There is a fine line between serving your customer well and shoving things down their throats. But WM today wants us to do exactly that. For example, they will tell us to walk the customer into the clothing area and show them some of the items we sell.

It simply is not going to be the same.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:10   #194
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

A perfect example of how the end result of unbridled capitalism is literally killing off their own customers.

Could knowledgeable boating associates sell clothing? Sure.

Could "kids" who know nothing about boating do it for less in wages? Doh?!?

Why not simply get the Marine out of the name? Oh, wait, they're selling "marine" clothing!!! Yup, those shorts & T shirts sure look "mariney" to me. Must require that MUCH higher price.

Sheez.

I am SO glad we have a REAL chandlery where I boat. Maybe will help their business, too.

My other favorite boating store is Ace Hardware. Ours has a great selection of SAE and metric SS fasteners, too.

West Marine? RIP. They sure were good while they lasted.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:16   #195
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

If the new CEO is really from REI and does not know boating that will be a problem. I am an REI member and for those who know REI I have a very low 6 digit membership number; ie I have been an REI member for over 40 years.
I still go to REI and was in one looking for a windbreaker when in Denver this past March. All of the camping and climbing stuff is still there but the real difference is a boat is not a boat. They are all different and require different parts and that takes inventory; lots of it.
As for the employees, yea they were an upbeat bunch and had some knowledge but nothing special and in fact I found better knowledge in other shops like Colombia who knew exactly what I wanted and helped me find it vs REI who just pointed me to the area.

NOW for inventories. I spent 40 years in the logistics business and inventory is a killer unless you manage the heck out of it. Sometimes it is a tradeoff of transportation cost and transportation speed to meet the customer service levels that are required. I have a bit of an issue with the ex WM exec on the product cost varying a lot but a bit is the value of the currency and that can be somewhat planned for. The real key are the buyers and inventory managers who have to have good strategic planning tools in trying to determine the level of inventory to carry and where. It is a lot of work and when I met some of the buyers when I worked at WM I was anything but impressed with their level of knowledge and understanding of the total supply chain. In fact most were totally ignorant of the how the actual supply chain worked so it is little wonder they are struggling.
Real glad Defender is there. As info I did go to the Denver store and did not expect to find much and did not but before I left Tunisia I had put in my order to Defender for over $2k worth of parts to bring back. Could have ordered from WM but it would have cost much more.
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