- Published on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 22:46
- Written by Editor 1
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By Jamie Farris
Writer, Dive News Network
You couldn't get much farther north in the United States in search of a dive shop, but as far as divers in the Bellingham, Wash., area are concerned that's just fine with them because Gone Diving is all they need.
Gone Diving was formed in October 2005 when owner Charlynn Sutton found herself in need of a career change. "The shop I was working for closed and I had gone as far as I could in my field so I started exploring my options," Sutton says. "I decided that maybe the area needed a family friendly dive shop so we opened Gone Diving." The retail shop was opened in December 2005 and from there it has been about building a great foundation within the local dive community.
Gone Diving is woman-owned and operated, lending a unique business sense in terms of how Sutton runs her shop. "We run a very clean shop and we keep it stocked with everything that a diver needs," Sutton says. "We started from scratch but began purchasing all the inventory, filling the building retail space and marketing to the new clientele. Now we are well known in the area as a good place to get equipment and to get involved in diving in general." Sutton says when she began she kept taking classes because she wanted to keep diving. "There weren't a lot of dive activities to do but I wanted to keep diving so I just kept taking classes, getting certified and then I started teaching."
Sutton is now a TDI/SDI technical trainer and she loves to teach. Gone Diving specializes in family training and last year Sutton began a summer dive camp that caters to kids. "We train kids age 8 for the PADI's Bubblemaker class and certify 10-year-olds for the Junior Open Water rating," Sutton says. "We also offer the PADI Seal Team for ages 8 and up. It is a lot of fun watching the kids take to the water and learn. When we first began we had to collect the dive equipment for kids but now we have enough sets that we can teach a nice size class."
Gone Diving is a PADI dive shop and offers almost all of the PADI specialties. They have a reputation for being the go to shop in the north, in fact so much so they recently won second place in the KING 5 News/Evening Magazine's Best of Northwest Escapes 2010 Contest. "It was a real thrill to be recognized," Sutton says. "Coming in second to Underwater Sports, who has multiple locations and is based in Seattle, is like pulling a first place for our shop. We really enjoy what we do and it is the customers that make Gone Diving, fun. For more info on Gone Diving or their many programs visit www.gonediving.org. ■