West Marine to open first franchised store

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – Boating supplies retail giant West Marine, Inc. has formed a relationship with East Marine Denizcilik & Turizm A.S. under which it will open its first franchise store in Istanbul, Turkey, the company reported earlier this week. Rahmi M. Koç is the chairman and controlling shareholder of East Marine.

The new West Marine store in Turkey, located at Kumlar Caddesi No: 8 Kartal, is set to open in July 2008 and is part of a multi-store development agreement for Turkey.

Istanbul, located on the Bosphorus Straight, straddling Europe and Asia, is surrounded by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, making it an ideal location for a West Marine store, according to the company. Other locations are being identified along Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.

"We view this as a tremendous opportunity to leverage the West Marine brand and expertise with East Marine's international experience," said Geoff Eisenberg, West Marine CEO. "We believe franchising has enormous potential and we look forward to growing our international sales and presence with our respected partner."

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