West Marine has opened the doors of its new 50,000 square foot store in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The store is twice the size of its other flagship stores, and five times as large as most of its standard stores.
“Fort Lauderdale is a natural place for this size of a store,” Erik Rimblas, regional vice president for West Marine, told the Sun-Sentinel. “This is the boating capital of the world.”
The four-acre site is designed for a range of boating enthusiasts, from saltwater fishermen to megayacht captains. Touchscreen displays line store aisles to teach customers about electronics and other products, while there is also a rigging station staffed by experienced employees for orders either at the store or at boat locations in the area.
A marine rep close to West Marine said the Ft. Lauderdale store will be a “destination” type store for many boaters. “You’re going to see more interactive displays than any other mass retailer in the US,” he said, asking to remain anonymous. “West’s visual merchandising team worked closely with vendors on the display and gave up valuable square footage so those vendors could tell the stories of their products. West has never allowed a vendor to come in and give input on the look of a new store.”
The store’s selection will range from engine parts, fishing gear, water sports gear, clothing, jewelry, and thousands of other products. Hargrave Custom Yachts built a mock megayacht flybridge in the center of the store. It is several stories tall and took two weeks to complete. The bridge has two simulators so that clients can test depth finders and GPS devices.
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