I spend about the same amount time digging about piles of used boat equipment looking for items on our refit list as I used to spend in searching out deals on cocktail dresses and shoes. (I used to be wedding coordinator, the splashy clothes were work related, I swear!) There are several great shops whose inventory I check regularly online. Then there is our local shop- http://www.boatersresaleshopoftexas.com/ .
Boaters Resale is a favorite for several reasons. First and foremost, when youclimb the steps up to the "show room" you are greeted by Doree the dog. All good, salty shops must have a dog in residence. Likewise, no bookstore is worth your time unless there is a cat in residence. Scruffy, fierce little dog- check.
The next requirement is that items must be grouped by type. I've been in plenty of resale shops where everything is randomly put into piles. Yes, Boaters Resale has piles but they are not random. Sails are stacked with other sails. Winches are with other winches, galley equipment, foul weather gear, gauges, radios, radar, etc are all grouped together. You are still going to have to dig a bit, but at least you know where to start. Semi-organization- check.
The final requirement is that the staff be willing to help you if needed, but not get all up in your business. Also, the staff should not be wearing name tags, uniforms or insincere smiles. If you want that, go to West Marine and be ready to pay extra for this! The staff is friendly, but happy to let you poke around to your hearts content. Unobtrusive staff- check.
I've still not found the many items we are looking for, but the hunt is part of the fun. I'll continue to poke around the dusty shelves and give Doree a scritch behind the ears. If you happen to see a harried looking woman, digging through the shelves with Starbucks in hand, be sure to say hello. Thank you. I'll be here all year...