Creating a Dive Store Directory
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, Dive Industry Professional
I’ve been a certified scuba diver for 53 years now. I know – I don’t look that old. But anyway, throughout my life as an active diver, I have always made sure that I knew where my nearest dive store was when I moved to a new place or when I was on the road traveling. Funny as it may sound, I’ve always thought of Dive Stores as my home away from home. The store owners, managers and staff, regardless where they were, spoke the same language I did – DIVING. They were my source of equipment, training, travel and lifestyle products. They could always fix things I had that were broken and sold me things I needed to replace. They knew the best places to dive locally and were always willing to lend a helping hand to a fellow diver. If you have never experienced that kind of comradery before, give it a try sometime.
I work for the Dive Industry Association and we publish a directory of our Members to help refer divers to them. See DIA Directory A lot of time, money and manpower goes into running an association of equipment manufacturers, training agencies, dive stores, travel businesses, non-profits and the like. We are actively engaged in the advertising and promotion of our Members. We work to make sure they are the best at what they do and that the whole diving world knows about them. We verify that they are actively engaged in business and do the things they say they do. For all our work, we charge each of them a small annual membership fee. I personally know each member and I can honestly say that I would recommend any one of their services to the worldwide diving community.
Not every diving business is a member of the Dive Industry Association and many don’t even know who we are. Why? I have no idea, but I’d be willing to guess. Some of the dive businesses I’ve hear about are full time operations and some are part time jobs or a hobby. Some are large operations and some are small mom & pop companies. Whatever reason they have for being in business is theirs and theirs alone. One thing they all have in common though is their love for scuba diving and our recreation.
As a Director of the non-profit organization, Dive Industry Foundation, I’ve been asked to create a directory of Retail Dive Stores in the United States. Unfortunately, because of the difficult economic times we are in, caused by the covid-19 pandemic, many dive stores will be forced to close their doors this year. Keeping abreast of 1,500 dive stores, many whom I do not have a working relationship with, is a very difficult task. I need the help of the Global Diving Community.
Our goal is to create a directory of all the retail dive stores worldwide. We started off with the United States and created ten territories that we call Regional Diving Communities. On this website home page you can see that each territory has its own web page. They are; Northeast, North Central, Northwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Caribbean, South Central, Southwest, and South Pacific. Each page has its own Dive Store Directory. We listed dive stores that we believe to be in business and have collected a business card from many of them. The stores that we verified or are verified by Regional Sales Reps have their website URL added. The ones without a web address have not been verified yet. As an example, please have a look at our Directory of Dive Stores in Florida. You’ll see that we list the store name, city, state and website when it’s verified. See Florida Dive Stores
Here’s how you can help, regardless of your trade affiliation. If you work in a dive store please mail us one of your business cards. If your a Sales Rep, please send us one card for each of the Dealers that you visit. If your a diver, please send us a business card for the store you do business with. We are looking for members of each Local Dive Community to verify their local dive store and introduce us to the owners or managers. We will list the store in its regional territory on www.divelocal.org at no charge.
We are hoping that a current dive store listing will help local divers get in contact with their local dive store and perhaps, start diving again. This directory is a passive directory that can be accessed by every certified diver worldwide. It may even be the beginning of a professional relationship with each dive store and the creation of an active Local Diving Community.
There are only two things we ask. 1) Please mail us a hard copy of the dive store’s business card. We use Card Scan Software and its part of our verification process. 2) Please don’t tell us our list is old, it’s out of date or it sucks. We would like to know if a specific store has gone out of business or if a new store has entered the market. We knew the list wasn’t perfect when we started, but I can assure you, it’s getting better every day because of some real great volunteers in the diving industry. And no one else is doing this in public. Thank you.
Please mail your Business Cards and comments to: Dive Industry Foundation, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904. You can call us at 321-914-3778 or email Gene Muchanski at email@example.com