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August 16, 2006

Watcha do when your dive shop goes under?

Well, a most revolting thing happened. I got a call on my answering machine from my instructor saying that Hudson Dive and Aquatic Center in Rancho Cordova, Calif., closed down. Say what? I just bought $2,500 worth of gear there a few days ago!

Well, I call up the dive shop and, sure enough, there is a heart-wrenching message from John, the owner. He is so sorry to inform us all that due to unforseen circumstances he had to close the shop. Everything will be refunded. He is so very sorry. Anything further, please call this number.

I call and the number is a legal firm. The dive shop had filed for bankruptcy.

I have very mixed feelings. I didn't see that coming. Usually, the stench of death permeates a shop that is about to go under. The shelves are bare, there is an aura of desperation, people you'd known have left. There was none of that at the Hudson Family Dive Center. The shelves were well stocked. There were always plenty of people there. But then again, one doesn't just wake up one morning and think, "Hmmm, maybe I should declare bankruptcy before I go go get me a bagel..."

So I wonder what happened. I had bought all my diving gear there because I wanted to support my local dive shop, my scuba alma mater. I could have bought my stuff online for less, but I wanted to build a relationship by buying local. By supporting my dive center, who'd then know and support me when I needed advice or a favor. That's the way it works.

I had planned on buying or renting a tank so I could practice some skills in my pool. Now I don't even know where I'll get my C-Card from. Or who will handle my equipment service and handle my warranty. Probably some other shop, but they won't embrace me with open arms as "my" dive center would have. And they are farther away. So John should have told me... "You know what, I can't do it any longer. I'd love to sell all this to you, but I cannot in good conscience."

I've been playing phone and email tag with Instructor Chuck. He seems to want to organize something for Sacramento area divers and look out for us. Hey, maybe he wants to buy the dive center, or maybe I should. Who knows. But this sure put some, ummm..., cold water onto things. Like hitting a really bad thermocline.

Posted by conradb212 at August 16, 2006 10:54 PM