West Marine Previews its New Fort Lauderdale Boating Superstore


Boating Industry Canada was among a group of perhaps a dozen journalists who were invited to a sneak preview of the new West Marine Fort Lauderdale Boating Superstore that opens to the public on November 11.

Lynn Ferguson, chief marketing officer for West Marine welcomed the press to this preview of the nearly complete store. At 50,000 ft.², he describes the new superstore as being 3 times the size of their current flagship stores and 5 to 6 times the size of their conventional West Marine retail outlets.

Ferguson said that the decision to create this new store superstore was driven by consumer input. They learned that the number one thing consumers don’t like is to not get the part they were looking for when they come to the store.

To try out the superstore concept, West Marine chose Fort Lauderdale because of the range and intensity of boating that takes place in that market, 12 months year.

He went on to talk about many important aspects of the new superstore. One consideration was environmental sustainability. The store design will deliver 50% to 70% of all the lighting required by natural daylight. The store is to be very efficient with raw concrete flooring in places and flooring made from recycled car tires in other places. Overall though, the store is warm and inviting and not industrial looking at all.

They talked about the different “vistas” consumers will be exposed to from the time they enter the store. Various departments will be easily identified from a distance and the one that impressed us the most on our first visit was the new “For the Boater” section. This area alone is 14,000 ft.² and is merchandised with 40 different apparel brands and 20 different footwear brands, plus a wide range of boating related accessories like belts, jewelry, sunglasses, backpacks and more.

Every type of nautical inspired footwear seemed to be on display. The clothing was well lit and attractively displayed. There was a big selection of West Marine’s own brand clothing plus Nautica, Tommy Bahama, Quiksilver, O’Neil, Henri-Lloyd and many more fashion and technical clothing brands.

While we are confident that current West Marine customers will find all the boating products and accessories they are accustomed to, the impressive selection of apparel and footwear in the “For the Boater” section is likely to attract a lot more repeat visitation and very likely, a much wider range of shoppers.

Congratulations to West Marine for this bold move!

Photo: A small section of the “For the Boater” department of footware and apparel in the unique new West Marine Fort Lauderdale Boating Superstore.

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