Diving is a sport that brings us all together. No matter where a diver may end up, that person can always find friends among other divers at a local watering hole at the end of the day. This type of relationship is one that many would call a “family.” These people will laugh with you, joke with you, and even help you in bad times, even if they have just met you. These supportive emotions are often built at home through interaction with the local dive shop. Every evening at shops around the world, men and women get off work and swing into the dive shop just to see what is up or what new gear has arrived. At certain times, dive shops may even have trouble getting work done because customers are too busy socializing within the store. The dive shop is a place to escape worry, avoid problems, and even daydream about scuba diving. For any business, disruption of this type is a good problem to have.
Air Hogs Scuba
At Air Hogs Scuba, the dive shop is without a doubt a second home for everyone who walks in the door. The staff members openly joke around, pick on customers, and certain customers even swing by every day just to eat lunch while working sales routes. The dive shop is a place to “get away” and be among friends. When a new face shows up, he or she is treated like an old friend. When the door opens, exclamations of welcome are yelled out and smiles can grow on the hardest of faces. Gender, race, creed, nor the background of any individual matter to anyone. Each person is either a diver or someone seeking to start a new adventure. Like interests and shared excitement for the water are the only factors that seem to matter.
When a shop friend or employee seems to be having a bad day, the others ask if any help can be provided and efforts are made to lift the spirits of everyone. After all, “any day diving (or at least being near diving) is better than a day where you don’t dive.” Air Hogs Scuba is a place where stories are shared and bonds are developed. The divers trust each other under water, so land-based living in the shop comes easy. Relationships of this type are how families are built and there are not many communities stronger than one made up of divers. The staff at Air Hogs Scuba takes pride in its little “family” and works every day to grow it just a little bit bigger.
– Submitted by Air Hogs Scuba of Garner, NC
Tech Dive Center
Located in the mountains of Virginia, six hours from the Atlantic Ocean, with no active dive club presented a daunting proposition to start a dive shop. However, after a four-year effort that was seeded with a basement full of dive gear, some great mentors, a true passion for everything diving, and most importantly a business mission to “Build a Dive Community”, Tech Dive Center is now the “Dive Shop Home” to hundreds of divers in the New River Valley near Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
It was this mission statement; “…to build a dive community” that has kept us focused on a long-term goal of supporting our business with the creation of a sustainable group of active, safe, and fun seeking individuals who are very passionate about scuba diving. The most important aspects of our community building efforts?
- Full Moon Socials – Every full moon the dive shop hosts a social event with 30-50 people in attendance. Instead of a certain day of the month or week, we let the moon cycle dictate the date so that over the course of a year most people can attend most events. These are either potluck or sponsored by a customer who volunteer to buy or make a great spread of food. We discuss past adventures, future trips, and enjoy an evening amongst peers.
- Independent Clubs – The dive center provides support for two clubs who keep individuals engaged during extended surface intervals. A local university club was revived and caters to college students. Another which we started from scratch, and meets before the full moon socials, is lead by local residents.
- Mixing sport and technical divers – Avoiding cliques and enabling everyone to interact is always a challenge. Our solution is to plan training and trips that are interesting to both sport and tech divers. We cater to all experience levels and are inclusive of everyone’s budget, schedule, and passion. Divers are exposed to a variety of specialties, but more importantly the people who are most passionate about that type of diving is the one selling it, instead of a shop employee.
Divers seek out other divers and converge at a location that reminds them of the most recent dive adventure. All divers need that location at which to congregate. If not, they lose steam, forget how awesome the last dive was, crucial skills disintegrate and the once avid diver no longer dives. Typically this local mecca is the same place they get gas fills, purchase new equipment, and received their latest certification card. Dive shops not only provide areas with equipment, service, training, travel and rentals but most importantly, dive shops provide community. This is vital for both inland and destination areas because it introduces us to new buddies and sets up the unique culture of the dive world.
– Submitted by Tech Dive Center of Blacksburg, VA.
DJ’s Scuba Locker
What are we all about? Customer Service! We have never stopped being customers.
We have built relationships with our customers with this philosophy: It is not about short-term profits and numbers; it is all about long-term relationships.
While we have to work around internet sales and information, the lack of customer service always brings people back to DJ’s. Although price is sometimes a factor, you cannot put a dollar value on customer service, experience and a satisfying outcome. For example, the DJ’s SDI Scubility Program supporting our Military and Challenged Kids delivers that positive experience and satisfying outcome. This is a way for our customers to be involved, work with those who need assistance, and feel a connection to the DJ’s Team. This is our way of paying it forward, and it is their way of being a part of our dive community.
In the short-term, customers become friends and in the long-term, they become family, and the dive shop becomes their home.
– Submitted by DJ’s Scuba Locker of Brookfield, IL.