After spending eight years as its manager, Michelle Kraft became the owner of Dive Shop San Marcos last September.
The business, founded by Don Dibble in 1972, is a full-service scuba-diving shop where customers can rent gear, fill their oxygen tanks or schedule a scuba session with a “dive master” at a local diving site.
Dibble partnered with Texas State University in 1972 to start its scuba program, which continues to be run by Dive Shop San Marcos today.
“A buddy who ran the [physical education]department [at Texas State]asked [Dibble] if he would be interested in teaching a scuba class if he was able to secure—I believe it was 10 sets of gear,” Kraft said. “And so he said, ‘Sure, I’ll do it.’”
Kraft said the next thing Dibble knew, there were approximately 200 students signed up for the class.
“They realized they had something going there,” she said.
When Dibble retired in 2010, he sold the shop to his daughter and son-in-law. They later passed the business on to Kraft, who had worked there as the shop manager for nearly a decade.
Because what the shop does is linked to the San Marcos River, Kraft said she feels it has helped her form meaningful connections with the community.
“Whenever we have river cleanups, we try to get divers in the river as well,” she said. “If you have dive gear, you can just sit there and continue and get all the trash out of that one area instead of having to go up and take a breath.”
Diving and participating in river cleanups, Kraft said, creates a greater public awareness of the importance of river stewardship.
“I think it makes everyone aware of what’s going on around them,” Kraft said. “And making sure that, OK, next time they go and float the river, ‘Hey, make sure we take the onion bag to put our trash in so we’re not just throwing it over the side.’ Or a lot of times, I’ll have students—now if they see trash floating they’ll actually jump out of their tube, swim over and pick it up and put it in their trash bag.”
Kraft said her favorite part about owning the dive shop is that she is always meeting new people.
“And I love the look on people’s faces when they kind of just light up like, ‘I’m breathing underwater.’ That just never gets old,” She said. “So that’s always fun. Especially once they go a little bit more into it or maybe join us on any diving trips, and they really just kind of solidify that love of diving. I love it.”
Dive Shop San Marcos
1911 Old RR 12, San Marcos
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sun.