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A Quck Look Back At 40 Years!
If you’ve been visiting Big Island and Jack’s Diving Locker for a while, you’ve probably walked into a few different locations over the decades and been on a few different boats. As we celebrate 40 years this year, we thought we’d take a walk down memory lane!
Jack (yes, THE Jack) and Tina Clothier started Jack’s Diving Locker on August 1st, 1981 after moving to the Big Island from Oahu. They wanted to show people the exciting underwater world of Kona! In 1982, Jeff and Teri Leicher moved from Oahu and took over the diving operations of JDL while Tina continued to run retail. Jeff and Teri, in their van with just a few sets of gear, would offer free introductory scuba dives in the bay at Kailua Pier as well as doing snorkel rentals and lessons at Kahalu’u Beach. Later, the Leicher’s took over the retail side of JDL as well.
Jack’s Diving Locker’s first retail space was on Ali’i Drive in the Kona Inn shopping center. It wasn’t long before they outgrew that location and decided to move down the road a bit to Coconut Grove Marketplace shopping center. That location is now home to Kona Gear, a souvenir clothing store. The old JDL mermaid logo is still stamped into the concrete by the back entrance to the store! At the beginning of the 2000’s JDL had once again outgrown their facility. They decided it was time to build their dream shop! In 2003 the current facility opened, complete with a custom designed pool for training! In 2005, when JDL purchased Kona Coast Divers, they also gained retail space at Honokohau Harbor, which has since been expanded into the facility you go to today!
The original Jack’s Diving Locker boat, the Blue Dolphin, is still in the JDL fleet of boats and gets taken out for spin several times a year. Throughout the years they’ve added (and sold) several other boats. In 2007 they completed their current fleet with the purchase of Kea Nui.
Throughout the years, Jack’s Diving Locker has had many wonderful crew members don the JDL crew shirt. While some come and go, there are still several long-time crew that still work at Jack’s! Keller Laros is celebrating 30 years with Jack’s this year! Andy and Angela, who now work remotely from the East Coast, started in 1995. Of course, Kawika Leicher has been working at JDL his entire life! Many other current crew members have more than 10 years of employment with JDL: Joe W, Bob J, Mongo H, Matt B, Sven L.
Of course, we wouldn’t be here for 40 years without our wonderful customers, of whom many will forever be a part of our 'ohana! You are a part of our legacy as well! We hope to celebrate with everyone! Here’s to 40 more!
There’s Never A Better Time To Give The Sweetest Gift To Your Sweetheart This February, The Gift Of Diving!