West Marine Reviews

Updated September 27, 2014
Updated September 27, 2014
84 Reviews
3.0
84 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
West Marine President & CEO Matthew Hyde
Matthew Hyde
32 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The best reason to work here is the short commute if you live in Santa Cruz, and the Employee discount (in 14 reviews)

  • Really none associate discount about the same as shopping around online (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • mismanagement, theft, overexpecting, low pay, no benefits (in 6 reviews)

  • It is as though they do everything to keep many from achieving a full time status (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    The best and worst years of my life

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Watsonville, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Watsonville, CA

    I worked at West Marine full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    I spent many years at West Marine and did so because of the company values and especially because of the people. What started as a lark, part time to pay for my boating habit (great associate discount) became a career. I gave as good as I got - the company treated me well, valued my work and made me feel part of a bigger plan.

    Cons

    Then the leadership changed, and changed again and then leaders left other leaders in play that shouldn't be leaders and so on. It appears that the they have lost their way, leadership is out of touch with what's really going on and the goals and strategic direction are not aligned or worse yet, not effectively communicated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out who you want to be. The associates at this company bleed blue, and I think that leadership over the years has tended to forget it. Remember what it is that makes the company great - it is the people at all levels of the enterprise.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Cashier

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Cashier  in  Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Former Employee - Cashier in Fort Lauderdale, FL

    I worked at West Marine part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Met new people, liked the field

    Cons

    mismanagement, theft, overexpecting, low pay, no benefits

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer incentives to the minimum wage emplyees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Ok

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Cashier  in  West Babylon, NY
    Former Employee - Cashier in West Babylon, NY

    I worked at West Marine part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    If you like boating its fun

    Cons

    cant think of any cons

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    .......

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    West Marine gathers a fun group of employees, a great work community.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Seattle, WA

    I worked at West Marine full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great employee discounts! Awesome crew!

    Cons

    Pay is not the best unless you're some type of manager.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make sure at each location there is good qualified people who will take time not because they have to but because they want to train new employees thoroughly and properly. I got trained the basics but had to learn the hard parts when i happened to stumble upon them with a customer and looked like i didnt know what i was doing...thats because no one trained me on it!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    AM Review

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at West Marine

    Pros

    Great place to work if you love boats, being around boaters, and talking boats. Good benefits for full timers, and higher than average pay for a retailer.

    Cons

    Heavy product knowledge required, reatil hours (no weekends off), locations are generally near the beach and saleries are not in line to live near work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great summer job while in college

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate  in  Port Washington, NY
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Port Washington, NY

    I worked at West Marine part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    relaxed atmosphere, great employee discount,

    Cons

    Inconsistent work schedule, weekend shifts

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Financial rewards limited by seasonal business pattern and aging-out of customer base.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Store Manager  in  Watsonville, CA
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Watsonville, CA

    I have been working at West Marine full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    High degree of autonomy. Hiring/training/working with young people. Employee discount. Relatively low stress and off-hours demands. Passion for the category among managers and Associates. About 10% of store managers turn over each year, so there is always opportunity to move up if you're willing to work hard and (usually) relocate. Great job for high school and college students, retirees with boats, people who don't need full income/benefits (second job, working spouse, semi-retired, etc). Strong customer-centric culture.

    Cons

    In all but a dozen of the 250+ stores, only one person per store is salaried (Store/General Manager). Everyone else is <40hrs/wk. Even Assistant Manager cannot get year round 40hr/wk income in majority of stores (AM about 30hrs/wk). Most Associates average <20hrs/week.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need more focus. Current plan is to "grow core and expansion categories". That is corporate-speak for "everything is important", which everyone knows means there really is no focus. IMHO, West Marine has two options to survive. First, to become the "Orvis" of specialty boating products. That is, lots of high-end lifestyle products (clothing, home décor, luggage) but very little "core" product (boat soap, paint, engine oil, electronics). Sadly, so far lifestyle products are more Old Navy than Orvis. Second, to become the "Cabelas" or "BassPro" of boating. That is, about 100, mega size stores (+100M sqft) that sell a range of year round "Your Life Outdoors" products (as opposed to seasonal "Your Life on the Water" products), Either strategy will require a large investment in advertising as both mean attracting an entirely new customer base (PS... current team looks at advertising... like presence at national boat shows... as an expense to be controlled rather than an investment for the future). Otherwise, company will slowly go out of business since current boat owners are aging-out and minorities and younger families are not entering at a fast enough pace.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    OK to work here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager  in  Santa Cruz, CA
    Current Employee - Manager in Santa Cruz, CA

    I have been working at West Marine full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Lots of good people to work with and a stable place to be. Seems like people who work here stay for a long time. Great associate discount.

    Cons

    Not a lot of opportunites to grow and propser. Pay is low. While the discount is great it's not really good enough to offset the low pay.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work on getting the company to make money so all can be rewarded

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Not the company it used to be

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Store Manager
    Former Employee - Store Manager

    I worked at West Marine full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Good associate discount. If you can get full time status the benefits are good.

    Cons

    The company plans to reduce their store count by building fewer larger stores and closing most small stores. Because of this current managers have to compete to keep their positions. All too often the people that keep their management position are chosen based on favoritism. I have seen a District Manager advance an employee that was video taped sleeping on the job. A surprising number of other managers chosen are ultimately found to be stealing from the company or otherwise acting inappropriately with other associates. The end result is that other associates don't see a legitimate opportunity for advancement.

    This may only be a problem in the Southeast and only just a few District Managers. The net result is a demoralized group of associates who were hoping for a career and too few part timers that are expected serve their customers. In the mean time upper management has developed training plans for the associates to explain to customers why prices are so high and why the product they want is out of stock. Since West Marine can sometimes be there only boating supply store near by, the company will survive. It just won't be a great place to shop or work at.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you really believe in the company's values, you need to take a long hard look at your DMs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Very pleasant to work for.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Key Holder  in  Seabrook, NH
    Former Employee - Key Holder in Seabrook, NH

    I worked at West Marine part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Opportunity, discount, atmosphere was fun. Enjoyable place to be. Lots of trust in the employees.

    Cons

    Retail, long hours during summer weekends, not the best pay, encouraged to bother customers even after they've waved you off.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good Job

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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