Ronnie Moore planned to make a low-key entry into Guam’s dive industry offering a few dive classes and manning an air fill station. But a great location choice dealership offer and unique market niche made him think again. The result? Guam’s newest full-service dive center Divers Choice.

Moore 42 hails from central Texas but he spent over half his life serving in the U.S. Navy and even longer diving the globe. He and his wife Evelyn fell in love with Guam while stationed here during the late 1980s and when the chance came for Ronnie to serve his final Navy tour on the U.S.S. Frank Cable the Moores jumped at it. Moore retired last year after 23 years in the service and immediately began planning his dream of owning a dive business.

That business plan got much bigger and much faster than Moore anticipated. "We started talking about training classes and an air fill station and realized we’d need rental gear. Then I heard through the grapevine that Aqua Lung wanted to add a dealership on the island " Moore said. "Next thing you know we’ve invested over $100 000 and swung open the doors to a full-blown dive center."

Moore found a choice Asan location in the old War in the Pacific Museum building. Divers Choice occupies the bottom floor with 3 500 square feet of retail rental and classroom space. The store offers standard PADI classes air tank fills and a full line of retail and rental gear. While Divers Choice currently leads only beach dives Moore said plans for boat dives and off-island trips are in the works.

A key market niche for Divers Choice will be technical diving. Moore claims to be the only dive instructor on the island with certification by the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers. Moore fell in love with deep diving and advanced wreck diving while logging over 10 000 dives in his 24-year diving career and Divers Choice offers advanced technical diving classes as well as nitrox and trimix tank fills. "We can train and lead divers in just about anything they want " Moore said. "Except maybe ice diving things like that. I don’t expect much demand in that."

Moore plans to target the "young military " a decision born of his love for Guam and the Navy. "We want to give these young folks something to do more than go hit the bars " he said. "Give them a little more of a focus so they can get to know what Guam is really all about." He also hopes that the scheduled move of 8 000 Marines and their families to Guam will benefit Divers Choice. Moore has diving contacts among the Marines in Okinawa and he has been sketching plans for expansion. "Provided things go well over the next year to two years we’ll look at expanding in Asan and even opening a satellite shop " he said.

The prognosis so far is good he added. "If the first month is any indication we’re going to do well." MBJ