West Marine Sarasota Grand Opening Raises Over $18,000 for Local Charities

Recipients include Sarasota Bay Watch, Snook Foundation and Sarasota Youth Sailing, among others.

West Marine Grand Opening

Laurie Fried

West Marine, the country’s largest specialty retailer of boating supplies and accessories, announced that over $18,000 was raised for local charities at the grand opening celebration of its newest flagship location in Sarasota, Florida. Located at 4708 South Tamiami Trail, it is the largest West Marine Store in Southwest Florida, and is nearly three times the size of a standard store.

Over eighteen local marine businesses joined the festivities with a boat show on site. Andrew Eggebrecht, President of Andros Boatworks noted, “We rely on our relationship with West Marine. The quality product, proximity and now the larger inventory will help us grow and maintain our business.”

To launch the grand opening weekend, West Marine held a “Casting for a Cause” event. Tickets were available for ten dollars through: Suncoast Charities for Children, the Snook Foundation, the Sarasota Yacht Club (SYC) Charitable Foundation, MOTE Marine Laboratory, Sarasota Youth Sailing Program (SYSP), Englewood Sailing Association, Sarasota Bay Watch and the Sarasota Power Squadron. A live and silent auction was held on site and all of the proceeds benefited these local charities. “In our experience there has never been a better-attended grand opening,” said Rick Roberts of the Snook Foundation. “The crowd was overwhelmingly generous and the total experience was an awesome opportunity for all the charities involved.”

A highlight of the live auction was a luxury fishing trip donated by Galati Yacht Sales. Edgar Hansen, Deck Boss and Chief Engineer of the fishing vessel Northwestern, as featured on Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” agreed to join the crew to sweeten the deal. A delighted dad purchased the trip for his family. The winning bid of $2,300 was donated to Suncoast Charities for Children.

“This grand opening exceeded our expectations and we’d like to thank the community and our partners for contributing to its success,” said Wayne Seel, General Manager of the Sarasota Flagship Store. “Part of West Marine’s mission is to improve and protect marine habitats and promote youth boating. The funds raised at “Casting for a Cause” will help to accomplish these goals.”

For more information on West Marine's products and store locations, or to start shopping, visit westmarine.com or call 1-800-BOATING (1-800-262-8464).