Although the two took their first scuba lesson by accident, Phil Ellis and his son Brad quickly fell in love with scuba diving. “As soon as I went underwater for the first time, I was hooked. Both Brad and I began immediately thinking how we might make a living doing that great sport,” said Phil. After becoming a more active diver, he decided to quit his job in industrial quality improvement and manufacturing process control to open a dive shop in Decatur, Alabama. When the travel industry came near to a dead halt after September 11th, their brick-and-mortar store ended up not fairing so well.
Rather than just close up shop, Phil decided to take his business online with Dive Sports. He and his son had some success with a website they had built from scratch in 2002. After experiencing some growth, they soon realized they needed something more robust to maintain a sustainable business model. A friend had recommended Volusion and they set up the live dive shop in January 2008.
Since opening their Volusion store, Phil and the crew at Dive Sports has since reached out to the online community in scuba forums, chat boards, and blogs. Phil even started his own blog to discuss scuba products and tips. By reaching out to the community online, Phil developed an edge over his bigger, less personable competitors. “No matter how much our internet business grows, we are still just a bunch of scuba divers that love the sport and love sharing our knowledge and information with our customers. We like for our customers to think of us as their local scuba store, no matter where they live,” says Phil.