West Marine holds grand opening in Connecticut

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Marine retailer West Marine held a grand-opening celebration Thursday at its newest flagship store — the retailer's eighth — a 25,000-square-foot center in Old Saybrook, Conn.

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“We’re committed to being the best in the business,” Kevin Dawson, district manager for Southern New England, said at the event. “We’re committed to offering customer-friendly, knowledgeable service.”

The build-to-suit store stocks about 20,000 products, boasts the largest selection of marine electronics in the state and one of the largest engine and boating parts assortments in the company and is staffed by 40 employees.

Chris Primm, 26, who started working for West Marine unloading trucks and stocking shelves at age 15, is the store’s general manager.

The store had a soft opening several weeks earlier, and the boating-centric population where the Connecticut River meets Long Island Sound has taken to the new store, which replaces several older, much smaller local stores.

Overheard amid the bustling grand-opening day, which featured discounted pricing signs throughout the store, was a manager asking a customer with a half-full shopping cart whether this was his first visit to the store.