What Happened with the Dock Shoppe?

October 17 2016  Comments

In every entrepreneurs adventure there is the opportunity for success and more common are the epic failures that result in lessons learned, never to be repeated.

In 1997, Shane “Spike” Desloges was dockmaster at Pier 4 Marina on the Toronto harbourfront which was very close proximity to the original Dock Shoppe. A Helly Hansen razorfish all weather jacket was my first purchase there for $750 dollars. I loved that jacket for 20 years and our relationship with the Dock Shoppe lasted 20 years also.

Toronto boaters know the troubles that many business owners on Queens Quay experienced during the rejuvenation period leading up to the Pan-Am Games of 2015. Limited access to customers and the elimination of customer access to others created a pressure cooker that snapped the doors of the Dock Shoppe closed in 2014 for what many believed to be the final run.

It was late summer of 2014 when I and many of the recreational marine network personalities of the Greater Toronto Area were invited to a content fire sale at which a few people took full advantage of. I bought all the wax!

Giving into the pressure at our auto detailing studio on Weston Rd, a 2 year adventure in how to get sucked dry and still survive I was extremely ready for a more marine focused business opportunity that presented itself in an almost to perfect offering from the Dock Shoppe. An established chandler decided to leave that sweet spot on the water and The Dock Shoppe was reborn…

It was a still birth. So much work went into renovation of that space at a great cost to me assuming this was an investment in the future of recreational boating supply and service. My optimism was quickly remanded to near soul crushing disappointment when the locks were changed in the middle of our season.

The truth is, Spike On The Water and The Dock Shoppe could not settle on an effective lease arrangement before the relationship fully disintegrated in to complete and utter failure to communicate respectfully.

Saving grace for our business was the work/live zoning of our current HQ at the Chocolate Company Loft. 

It was mutually agreed upon that Spike on The Water would just pack up and get back to business as usual. We hoped the transition would not affect the efficient delivery of our services and to date I’ve received numerous Hi-fives for getting the heck outta there without incident.

Nobody will ever know how it could've been with common sense at the helm but when your trying to navigate two ships at the same time - SHIP HAPPENS EH wink

The great news is the Dock Shoppe is doing what they do and the Spike On The Water service boat wouldn't fit under the maple quay bridge anyways.




Using the focus rule of 80/20 we recognized when the 20% focus on The Dock Shoppe went to 40 that getting back to 100% Spike On The Water was absolutely necessary and factually really easy with the resources already in position.


Loyalty is valuable but rare.


Spike on the Water Spike on the Water Spike on the Water Spike on the Water