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Mike’s London Dive Store may have been established for more than thirty 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.
Still in his early teens, Scuba Steve started diving in the Sinai in 1989, in the days when Red Sea liveaboard operations were truly pioneering. He accompanied skipper Jan Ellingsen on Colona IV on a 1200 nautical mile trip down to the Sudan and learned to dive on the way. A few exciting encounters with grey reef sharks and he was hooked.
He worked alongside Mike and purchased Mike’s Dive Store when it became available. Mike’s son chose to sell to Steve because he could see that Steve had the same passion as his dad for scuba diving and was confident that he 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’s Dive Store is not about shifting boxes of product but having the patience to understand the particular needs and wishes of every one of its individual customers. That’s you!
There are very many aspects to the underwater world and Steve has seen most of them. He instils in his staff this philosophy to only sell the right tools for the job and many of the currently regular customers will tell you that it was Mike sold them their first set of diving equipment. Mike may have passed away but Mike’s Dive Store is alive and well, and Scuba Steve is carrying on the traditions that Mike established for it.