The stock changes and you never know what you will find.
What happened to all of the second-hand marine stores in the US and BC? Second Wave in Seattle closed due to real estate issues. Pacific Marine Exchange in Bellingham is gone due to a time to change – probably code for the business was just not good enough. The used marine gear store in Sidney, BC is also gone. Actually, the entire building was taken down, but there is no replacement building, so the story is not clear.
Despite the business model for consignment marine gear stores being tough with low margins and an accounting nightmare, two new marine gear stores have emerged with a sustainable business model based on the same concept as your local non-profit charity donation store. People donate used gear, it sells, and the proceeds go to a marine related charity. This innovative idea popped up in two places on both sides of the border, completely unbeknownst to the other, in Port Townsend, WA and Canoe Cove, BC.
New Marine Thrift Stores in Port Townsend and Canoe Cove
Expert staff at Marine Thrift.
The Marine Thrift in Port Townsend is located in the Boat Haven (next to the famous Blue Moose restaurant). The store is part of the Chandlery operation of the Northwest Maritime Center, the home of the Wooden Boat Festival and many other marine activities. The proceeds from the store go to support everything from kids marine programs to the now world famous Race to Alaska, better known as R2AK.
Bargains to be Had
There are some real bargains and unusual finds as people are constantly donating items. A large Seattle marine retailer sends a truck up almost monthly with slightly damaged goods like dented paint cans or torn boxes or scratched items – many perfectly good with cosmetic issues. Other items come from donations from people like you and me that have perfectly good marine gear that is no longer used and would be a pain to try to sell.
Lastly, the Marine Thrift organizes “gleaner” crews. When a boat is going to be scrapped, the gleaner crew jumps into action and removes winches, anchor gear, and hardware that is still serviceable and ends up for sale in the store.
Watch the Marine Thrift website for the announcement of their annual swap meet in the spring. Here you can show up with your gear for what turns out to be a fairly large crowd. At the end of the day, the Marine Thrift has a truck standing by to take your unsold gear away as a donation.
Tip: If you have marine gear and would like to donate call them first as they won’t take everything and list the items they do not accept on their website.
All Things Marine Thrift Store
Canoe Cove Marina had some space in an unused log cabin on the marina property. They organized the All Things Marine Thrift Store, which has proven to be very popular for finding bargains and for the donation of used gear. The Canoe Cove, Sidney, and Victoria boating community loves to rummage through the gear for bargains and you never know what you might find. The proceeds from the store support the Maritime Museum of British Columbia located in Victoria (a very good cause). If you live in the Sidney or Victoria area, consider volunteering.
Thanks to these two locations, the second hand or blemished marine gear market is alive and fun. Donate now and visit often. The changing selection of bargains makes the treasure hunt fun.
Part of the Northwest Maritime Center
Open Wednesday–Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Located in the Boat Haven | 315B Haines Place, Port Townsend
Donations are tax deductible
See the website for the list of items accepted for donation.
Located at Unit 14 – 2300 Canoe Cove Road, Sidney BC CANADA
Open Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Contact Ann Jones at ajones [at] mmbc.bc.ca for more information.
Direct Number for the Store: 778-351-0011
Selling donated used marine items year-round as a fundraiser for the Maritime Museum of BC. The Thrift Store is entirely operated by Museum volunteers. Donated books and marine items will be gladly accepted.