West Marine to open world’s largest marine-supply store?

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – West Marine, Inc., which bills itself as the world’s largest boating supply retailer, will open what it says is the world’s largest marine retail store this weekend in San Diego, West Marine said this morning in a press release.

Covering approximately 30,000-square feet, the store will offer more than 50,000 products after a grand-opening celebration that begins this Thursday, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony kicking off what San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy has proclaimed “West Marine Weekend.”

A free barbeque, giveaways – including a Kawasaki personal watercraft – as well as product demonstrations and informational clinics are also planned as part of the celebration, West Marine said.

The store itself will feature a 20-foot tall façade, with a fly bridge, modeled after a luxury power yacht, and displays will include a six-foot marlin pursuing a school of tuna above the main aisle. Hands-on product displays, including a virtual fishing game and bilge pump testers submerged in real water tanks are also promised.

The grand opening begins Thursday at 10:30 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting event at the store. On Friday evening, West Marine and the United Anglers of Southern California will host a benefit auction for the Friends of Rollo, a kids’ fishing program that introduces children to marine life and the ocean environment, according to the company.

On Saturday, 5 percent of sales will go directly to Challenged America, a San Diego-based free therapeutic sailing program for kids and adults with disabilities. Sunday’s events will celebrate Father’s Day with special savings, giveaways and gifts for dads, West Marine said.

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