With the additional room, the Wallaces added a retail side to Dive World’s offerings. Divers can now visit the store for a one-stop-shop for masks, spearfishing guns, buoyancy compensators and more. The expansion has also allowed the owners to convert the old shop into a community area for students and instructors alike.
“People tend to linger around dive stores. It’s kind of a thing,” Seth said. “People come in, they want to talk about all their diving stuff. We really wanted to embrace that and encourage it.”
Since taking over more than two years ago, the Wallaces said they have decided to make community investment one of Dive World’s focal points. The scuba shop hosts and trains local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, even setting up an underwater Girl Scout cookie stand in Dive World’s indoor pool.
Dive World has also made a commitment to conservation in its store. The Wallaces now own the only Professional Association of Diving Instructors Green Star-certified diving store in Texas after the couple invested in environmentally sound operations, such as using repurposed water and eco-friendly cleaning chemicals.
The scuba shop additionally partners with other dive shops in the Austin area every year to help clean up parts of Lake Travis. During the most recent cleanup effort, Seth said the dive shops had three barges full of local divers picking up trash off the bottom of Lake Travis at Devil’s Cove.
“All divers pretty much are, by definition, conservation-minded to some extent,” Seth said. “Once you’re out in the ocean, you see the amazing majesty and the beauty of diving on a coral reef and the abundance of life that’s so unique to a coral reef, you just realize it’s special and something that needs to be preserved.”
While the scuba diving store was forced to close for a few months at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Wallaces say they are now up and running with a full course load and special events, such as underwater pumpkin carving. The break allowed Dive World time to push a lot of its instructional materials online, allowing for prospective students to do work from home on their own schedule.
Dive World offers a full lineup of instructional classes for scuba diving, ranging from discovery and open water certification classes for beginners to professional certifications for advanced divers, including rescue diving and instructor training.
“We’ve got a great instructional staff. They care a lot about their students, and keeping our class sizes small is really important to us so that everybody gets more focused attention,” Traci said.
Dive World Austin
12129 N. RM 620, Ste. 440, Austin
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.