West Marine opens its largest store ever

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – West Marine Inc. (NASDAQ: WMAR) has opened its largest store ever in Jacksonville, Fla., according to an article yesterday in the Jacksonville Business Journal.

The flagship store, which is 30,000 square feet and offers 16,000 products, is four times the size of an average West Marine location and offers about twice the number of products, the journal reported. Its unique features include a 300-square-foot model flybridge, a model fishing shack and skylights designed to reduce the need for electricity, according to the article.

“We’re really confident that this will be really successful,” Bruce Edwards, executive vice president of stores and port supply, told the journal. He added that planning for the Jacksonville location started a year-and-a-half ago before the economic downturn. “We really never considered pulling the plug on this project,” he commented.

This brings West Marine’s total store count to 343, which includes 97 in Florida and five in the Jacksonville area, the journal reported.

Edwards told the journal that while West Marine is moving forward with expansion plans cautiously, it could open as many as 12 to 15 stores within the next few years, depending on economic conditions.

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