Destin’s Own, The Ships Chandler, Opens New Location in Freeport

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The oldest fishing tackle business in Destin has now opened its second marine and service center in Freeport! The Ships Chandler, located at 17309 U.S. Hwy, 331, has over 14 acres of space! The new marine and service center supplies the area with new and used boats, outboard motors, and everything in between to make sure the boater is set up for success and supported in their fishing or boating journey.

“We were drawn to Freeport, because there’s a big need to service the locals and areas surrounding the city with excellent service,” owner Peter Wright, Jr., said. “It’s easy to get to from all over the Panhandle and lower Alabama without having to deal with the traffic of the beach. “It’s quickly becoming the hub of everything Walton County has to offer. We’re excited to become a part of the community and help it grow with the help of all the surrounding communities in Walton County.”

The Ships Chandler is a family-run boating and fishing business that opened in Destin 42 years ago. “Our goal since day one has been to help fishermen become better in their craft,” said Peter, Jr.

The business was started originally by Peter Wright, Jr.’s grandfather, Bill Wright and father, Peter Wright. The Wright family relocated to Destin in 1970 on a military assignment to Eglin Air Force Base. Destin was a small fishing village during this time, and after graduating from high school in 1976, Peter, Jr.’s father decided fishing was his future. He took the time to travel around, from the Keys to the Virgin Islands, Bahamas to the Caribbean, where his fishing knowledge grew. In 1979, he returned to Destin and instead of fishing to make a living, they opened The Ships Chandler in Destin. Peter Wright, Jr., having grown up with the business, later joined. The name, The Ships Chandler, made sense since a ship’s chandler in the old days was a person who provided supplies, provisions, cargo and crew to the boats.

When asked what it was like back then, Peter Jr., shared one story that came to mind. “{My grandparents, Bill and Mary Wright,} were the seventh house built on Holiday Isle, a two- story house,” Peter Jr. said. “My grandmother could sit on the top deck of their two-story home and watch my grandfather go by boat from the back and through the Harbor, out of the pass, and into the Gulf. With hardly any houses built, she could watch him the entire way.” Almost unheard of these days!

At the new Freeport location, customers can expect to find state-of-the-art personal service including new and used boat brands such as Maverick, Hewes, Pathfinder and Cobia. The new center is also a brokerage for boat sales, engine sales for Yamaha and Mercury Outboards, engine service and warranty for Yamaha and Mercury Outboards, engine parts and accessories, boat/marine repair and maintenance services, boat/marine parts and accessories, gelcoat repair, boat detail service, and custom marine work including electronics, boat restoration and a refurbish shop. They even have an inshore fishing guide service if you’d like personal instruction or just a fun day of fishing. “The difference in this new location and our Destin location is ROOM,” said Peter, Jr. “We have tons of it! And, other than tackle, we offer the same products and services as the Destin location.”

Peter, Jr. says even though they’re expanding, “We’ll always keep the same small-town, family-owned business feel. When businesses get too big, they lose track of the customer service side of things quickly. We know how important that is to people. Our service staff are professionals, not just employees, that take extreme pride in their work,” he said.
With more than four decades of experience, The Ships Chandler staff knows the best boats for Panhandle area fishing, and what the best tackle, bait and locations are for what’s biting each season. Stop by with questions or just to introduce yourself anytime. They’ll even evaluate your needs and make recommendations. “We talk boats and fishing all day and we’d love to talk with you. We won’t try to sell you something you don’t need,” Peter, Jr. said.

The Ships Chandler will be constructing Phase Two of the project in the coming months which will include 170 covered spaces for boat and RV storage.

Visit theshipschandler.com, give Peter a call at (850) 837-9306 or email info@theshipschandler.com.