ISTANBUL - Hürriyet

West Marine, the world's leading marine materials supplier, has opened a store in Kartal, east of Istanbul, thanks to Rahmi Koç's passion for the sea. Partnering with Koç Holding, Turkey's biggest conglomerate; West Marine, which has 377 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, steps toward the European market for the first time.
Maritime business is developing rapidly in Turkey, Rahmi Koç, honorary chairman of Koç Holding and board chairman of West Marine Turkey, said during the opening ceremony of West Marine Turkey in Istanbul Saturday.
“There is incredible activity in Turkey's maritime sector. We want mariners to access anything they need in our store. We may open new stores in different places within the upcoming period,” Koç added.
Referring to the rising importance of maritime business, Koç said the current “boom” in marine tourism results in marinas full to the brim and yacht construction gaining more importance. “Now there is no vacancy in naval docks until 2010. The activity of the sector is incredible right now,” said Koç.
“We observed a major difficulty in accessing the required materials, particularly for 10- and 30-meter boats. We searched for the most convenient company and partnered with the world leader,” he added.
Informing journalists about the size of their partner company, Koç said West Marine's turnover was $750 million last year. “They have 377 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, serving customers with 80,000 products,” he continued. “We aim to supply requirements of 10 and 30-meter boats in this store. We are not looking forward to profit, our aim is to support yachting.”
30 years experience:
Speaking at the ceremony, Randy Repass, founder and owner of West Marine, said West Marine was founded 30 years ago. “We opened our first branch out of the Americas. We have every kind of maritime product with the latest technology,” he said. “Yachting is developing more rapidly in Turkey than in Europe. We aim to help mariners with this store. There are not many big players in this market. We will investigate the Turkish market and aim to open new stores in the upcoming period.”
“We receive a good income from Internet sales as well,” Repass continued. “We have access to 150 countries through the Internet. We are more than happy to help Turkish mariners.”
Commenting on Turkey's growth in the maritime sector, Repass said Turkey attracts people's attention with its growth. “Economic stability and the keen interest for the sector results in the development of marine business. We keep a close eye on the European market as well as Turkey. Turkey is very important to us in expanding into Europe,” he said.
West Marine at a glance
- $750 million turnover
- 377 stores
- Average 100 customers in every store every day
- 80,000 types of products
- Founded 30 years ago- Sales in 150 countries