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The ultimate dive shop

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Kayak Diver

New Member
Feb 6, 2002
A recent thread on this forum got me thinking of a question. In my neck of the woods, we divers only have a few local dive shops to choose from and it seems like each has its own problems that keep it from being a really good shop.
What attributes, amenities and services do you think would make up the ultimate dive shop? When you walk in the door what would you like to see? I have my ideas but I'd really like to hear what you all think. Thanks

service baby! Diving these days, especially scuba, is a service oriented industry. Gone are the days when you carried your own tanks and jumped everytime the instructor told you to. It used to be classes were set up at the instructors convenience, now the student makes the schedule...you can even learn off a cd-rom:confused:

With this in mind, how many tmes have I been into a shop where the owner/operator has acted like a it was a burden to help me find the answer to whatever question I might have.

big selection is nice but it all boils down to service. Most people would rather order something through a friendly shop than get it off the shelf from an as*hole down the street.

That being said, the most successful and best shops I have ever seen did have one common denominator...they created a family. Unless you are in a prime travel destination this is the easiest way to make business boom. Keep up with your graduated students, start a club, send out newsletters, hold bar-b-q's. Sure this cost a little bit of penny, but the returns will be ten-fold. 1. it keeps people diving, and if they are actively diving they will be actively buying 2. It keeps people loyal, they will even stop by on lunch breaks just to visit 3. It keeps everyone excited about diving and allows the operator to easily sell out those exotic trips that if 15 are booked the operator gets to go free:D your clients become your friends and you all travel the world diving together.

Just MHO;)

Rig nailed it on the owner/staff acting like they were doing you a favor by having the lights on... and the followup with the students and the formation and sponsership of a Club is how this guy started and more importantly stuck with the sport. Indeed after the shop closed after 25 years, most of my best and longest held friendships are with members. We've been welcoming the New year with a night dive at the Breakwater forever and I'm there regardless of the weather with all of 'em!

One of us even went and bought a sliding shop, Stan's, followed what we knew and used his smarts and is continuing the traditions. His reward is that we all book trips through the shop, because we get together and decide where we want to go, we know eachother's strengths and agendas and it's a no brainer after that. I could go to the Reef, (not!), or Joe's place, but I go clear to San Jose or have one of the crew pick it up for me. Go figure.

An indoor pool and classroom(s) is mandatory. Give swimming lessons and pool birthday parties for the days...works to keep the lights on at Anderson's in Pacifica.

Stock the good stuff. Don't fill the shelves with neon, twin blade, mirrored crap. Yeah it costs but you don't wanna know how fast I walk if I get the, "uh, well...we can get it..." Fine, get it and call me. I could care less that you have 3 mil shorties if we're in No Cal. If you can get me one next week for the trip in two months, sold. Period.

Videos running on a couple of screens, some raggae in the background, a no bullsh#t service guy with the parts and the cleaning tank and tools, a real compressor with a real water bath and a "you buy it, the VIP's are free" motto. That's the only thing I need for free, but you'd get HUGE style points for an occasional hat, T-shirt or sweatshirt with your shop logo on it. And stickers so we can put them on the walls of places we visit, take a Polaroid and put on the shop wall.

We need to get together and go over this, Dale. I'm in.

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Ultimate dive shop

You guys both nailed the most important parts for me, service and having what you need! This is exactly why so many divers are shopping on the internet these days. At this point in my diving, the dive shops, at least the ones in this area, don't carry anything I need except air. Everything is a special order that takes weeks to get.
I'll be calling you real soon, Sven, sounds like we have more to discuss than just diving.

This post is a little late, but I want to put in my 2c as well. I think that the service and the atmosphere are the most important things in a dive shop. I've found that I look for excuses to visit my shop, just because it's a welcoming place and I enjoy being there. I buy from them because I want them to stay.

I also think a dive shop should be helpful in whatever type of diving you want to do. I'm a certified scuba diver, but I'm starting to look into freediving:D and I want recommendations on equipment that will be useful in both disciplines.

I remember going to one shop where the employees lingered in the back for a long time before I finally had to hunt them down and ask for assistance. I can guarantee that I will not visit that shop again. On the other hand, a friendly, helpful shop that will help me out be it with scuba or freediving has my loyalty as a customer.

So that's what I think.:)
There are more than a few shops in So. Cal. so there must be some competition between them. Most have very good service and many are well stocked. (If you can't wait for the shop you like to special order, then you can still head to one that has everything.)

There are lots of independent dive clubs in this area so not many shops have their own. The one that does is a big shop and the club seems more of a money making scheme for them -- charge dues every year and then give you 10% discount on overpriced equipment, $10 off on expensive boat chaters, etc., as "benefits." I'd like to see the small shop I go to start a club but I think in this area they assume people are too busy doing their own thing to get together every weekend for an easy shore dive, or they think it would too much effort on their part to try to get people together. I don't like the dues thing and don't need discounts, just an excuse to get people to do some more frequent dives than a charter every two weeks or one month.

I don't see underwater videos and good music running constantly in the background at any shop around here and that surprises me. Every surf shop does it.

What we also really seem to be missing is some Hooters type counter help. Maybe thats just wishfull thinking.
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