|Minney's Yacht Surplus at 1500 Newport Boulevard|
I was walking back to my car after a Harbor 20 race I was in this last weekend, when a friend of mine Chuck Ullman called out, "I have been diggin' your harbor column."
Of course that made me stop walking and thank him for reading my work. He asked what my next story might be and that's when I got the idea to interview him.
I have noticed Ullman from the time he was a junior sailor and have followed him through college where he sailed for Saint Mary's University. Earlier this year I needed to sell some used sails and headed over to Minney's Yacht Surplus at 1500 Newport Boulevard where I was pleasantly surprised to see Ullman managing the store.
He was quick to help and made me a good deal on the sails. While I was leaving, I thought Ullman had found his niche in the marine business and it was obvious that he enjoyed his work.
Minney's Yacht Surplus has been around for 55 years, first opening on Mariners Mile on Pacific Coast Highway. About 20 years ago it moved up to its present location in the old San Antonio Winery building off old Newport Boulevard.
Minney's slogan is "We make Boating Affordable." It's a place where boaters can buy, sell and trade boating equipment. Chuck Ullman has been the store manager for the last two years and said it's best if customers come by often to see what's new.
The shop has a blog site at minneys.blogspot.com but I agree that to really get the feel of the place you need to stop by.
I asked about holiday shopping and Ullman said they have a large library of books, antiques, ship's bells and artwork that might be hard to find elsewhere.
"If you have a boater in the family, we will have something they will want," he said.
Minney's has marine surplus for sale and Ullman pointed out that the store has a large variety of small hardware and winches.
"We spent all last month cleaning Barient winches and have a large inventory of new Lewmar winches that are for sale," he said. "We also have port lights and Lewmar hatches available."
Ullman said a customer can come in with anything small and there will always be someone in the store that can purchase it from them. But if you're planning on bringing a trailer load of marine equipment, be sure to make an appointment so that the store owner Ernie Minney or Ullman is around to help you.
Also, if you are shopping for used sails, it's best to make sure you have the dimensions you are looking for. Minney's spends a lot of time updating its sail inventory on its website, so if you are looking for a spinnaker for the upcoming Ensenada race you can follow the inventory of spinnakers online.
Minney's also offers line splicing for your anchor or mooring gear should you be looking for a little help for the mega El Niño winter we are expecting.
I asked Ullman what were some of the strangest items he has seen come through the door and he recalled a hot air ballon and he purchased a parachute one time thinking it was a sea anchor.
It feels good to watch someone go from a junior sailor, find their passion in the marine business and do it all on their own. He performs his job with true passion and whichever route Ullman takes in the future, it's obvious that the customer will come first.
I recommend you stop by Minney's, say high to Chuck Ullman and ask him how to get your boat ready for the upcoming El Niño.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist for the Daily Pilot.