Bluewater Books & Charts moved its store from just off 17th Street in Ft. Lauderdale to the area behind Lester’s Diner on State Road 84, about two miles away.
The new location is larger — 11,000 square feet instead of 8,000 — and offers captains and yachts more services under one roof, said co-owner John Mann. The business continues to supply navigational products and print charts on premise, but can now receive and store pallet quantities for out-of-season charts and books in an air-conditioned area.
The 29-year-old business has changed and walk-in retail is less of the focus, Mann said.
“Sixty percent of our business is yachts and the Internet aspect has grown so we had a need for a different type of showroom,” Mann said. “Now, we can better build, stage, and ship orders.”
But the light industrial space still allows for an expansive showroom, he said.
“Yacht captains said they were in this area for so many other needs that this move made sense,” Mann said.
The large, open layout of the new store offers an immediacy to information, said Justin Mann, president of superyacht bridge services at Bluewater.
“There is no delay, no barrier to communication,” he said. “Rather than have to call back or go find something, we can get customers an answer. It is a collaborative working environment.
“And when customers are here, they can see the full scope of our operation,” he said. “Everything from our showroom, service, chart correction, storage, inventory management, shipping and software support. Customers have said they had no idea we were so big.”
Bluewater Books & Charts‘ new address is: 3233 S.W. Second Ave. (33315), a few blocks farther south from National Marine Suppliers.
Dorie Cox is associate editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.