Mike’s Dive Store: Shop Review

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Mike’s Dive Store: Shop Review

We have a fantastic competition running the whole of June in association with Mike’s Dive Store (www.mikesdivestore.com) to win a Muvi K2 NPNG Action Camera! We’ll pick the winning entry on the 1st July. If you’re the lucky winner then we’ll send a new Muvi action camera out in the post. Good Luck! So we thought we’d look a bit closer at Mike’s Dive Store and find out why you should be buying all your new dive kit from them!

So Steve (Scuba Steve, the Owner), why is it called Mikes Dive Store?!

Mike’s London Dive Store may have been established for more than twenty years but its history goes back much further than that. It’s founder, big Mike Calder, was the super-salesman at a dive store in Fulham Palace Road in West London. A local lad who was larger in life than in so many ways, he was so successful at serving divers with the equipment that suited their needs best that people beat a path to his door from all over the country. Mike was a diver and he believed that if his customers were satisfied they’d return. He took the long view. He was eventually so successful that other dive shop owners even protested he was distorting the market.

It was inevitable that he would set up in business for himself and with the help of a local friend started selling dive equipment from a warehouse at Richmond’s waterside. Eventually he moved the business to the more accessible premises it is in today. Mike was a giant of the UK’s diving industry in many more ways than one and all who knew him were shocked when he was suddenly taken from us long before his time, in 2009.

I had worked alongside Mike and purchased Mike’s Dive Store when it became available. Mike’s son chose to sell to me because he could see that I had the same passion as his dad for scuba diving and was confident that I would carry on the tradition of good service and advice from a position of a wealth of knowledge very much as his dad had done. Mike may have passed away but Mike’s Dive Store is alive and well, and I am carrying on the traditions that Mike established for it.

How long have you been diving?

28 years

What are your top 3 destinations & why?

I learnt to dive there and haven’t found anywhere that has the combination of soft and hard corals and big fish. Daedalus – Northern point at 5.45 in the morning – Hammerheads in the Blue and one of the most interesting reef walls I have ever seen.

Mumbo Island Lake Malawi
Seeing otters, monitor lizards and snakes on the same dive is quite special.

Pemba Island Tanzania – Eastern Side
You feel like the only people on the planet. But I do need to squeeze a fourth in as I have just been to Socorro and it blew my mind how close the Giant Pacific Manta’s and dolphins come to you – one interaction with a pod of dolphins was so close and intimate I even shed a tear – first time in 28 years of diving!

What’s left on your dive bucket list?

Cocos and Malpelo, Galapagos, Guadeloupe for the great whites

Do you have a bricks and mortar store or is it all online?

We have both, which separates us from the e-commerce box shifters, to us dive equipment needs to be sold with some sort of explanation – a lot of time people need a little guidance to get the correct dive equipment for their sort of diving and this can usually only be done by someone that has some sort of experience with diving and actually cares and wants to share their enthusiasm with a new diver.

What brands do you stock and how many product lines?

Our main brands are Scubapro, Mares, Aqualung, Apeks, Suunto, Typhoon, Tusa, Waterproof and Atomic but we stock over 60 brands and have over 12 000 products in store.

What are your best selling products at the moment?

Bcd’s and regulators as people gear up for the diving season ahead, cameras are also a massive growth area from the Muvi underwater camera right through to the sealife Micro HD

What makes you different? Why should people shop at Mike’s?

I make a fact of hiring people that are not only enthusiastic about diving but that have been to different areas diving in the world, so not only do we sell gear but we are a great resource for information on the actual dive sites themselves – right through from which dive sites in which season to where you can find the best Margarita’s or Shrimp Tacos in resort. It always makes me happiest when on a busy day in the shop we can have three or four different groups of customers chatting and discussing dive destinations, equipment, photos and general dive knowledge and giving information on the resort the other guys are about to visit – so not only are they getting good dive info from the resort but they are getting it from someone who has been there two days ago! We service equipment, conduct dive computer battery changes, sell cold water equipment, warm water dive equipment and we all passionately love the sport. We give 1% of all online profits to charity to preserve the marine environment and are constantly surprised that no other major UK retailer does the same.

We also stock the equipment we sell – so if you want to come in and compare we have the available stock to do this. With most dive equipment nowadays – certainly the brands we sell it is all good quality and will do the job for 10-20 years so it mainly comes down to which one fits you and your diving needs and this can only be answered by actually trying two or three different brands next to one another, which can obviously only be done in a store that has the stock. We are also London’s largest dedicated dive store with over 3000 sq ft and 12 000 stock items!