One day this week I received a phone call from my friend the Navigating Phenom (NP) with news that he received a coupon for discount at a local sporting goods store that is now selling SCUBA gear. So today NP , Mrs NP and I duly paid a visit to the sporting goods super store.
I was very surprised by the large selection of high quality SCUBA gear on display. The staff were very knowledgeable and most helpful. I realize that today was their "launch party", but I think they are doing everything right.
In the metro area that I live in there are at least twelve SCUBA stores. So far the SCUBA stores were spread out throughout the metro area with each store basically servicing a region of the metro. With the advent of the superstore selling a large range of SCUBA gear I think there is bound to be a shakeup in the status quo. One could probably compare it to the way Walmart, Target etc. changed the retail landscape from mom and pop stores to superstores.
I am all for supporting the local dive stores (LDS), since I derive some income from instructing from the one of the local dive stores in my area. At the same time I think that competition is good for the local SCUBA scene. In the SCUBA business relationships are very important. The superstores are good at selling on price, but I think that the LDS can handily beat the superstores on building relationships with customers.
For us to survive and thrive we will have to adapt to change and get better at what we do.