The History of Mac’s Sports Inc.
Serving Clearwater since 1938!
Mac’s Sports history is a long one. Since 1938, Mac’s Sports, in one form or another, has been a part of Clearwater Beach history. From its humble beginnings as a Beach Store, through its decades as one of Clearwater and Tarpon Springs leading Dive Shops, Mac’s Sports has been a constant in the Tampa Bay dive community. With over 50 years teaching diving, it is no wonder that Mac’s Sports is known for the best Gulf SCUBA diving, as well as best dive lessons, in the area. Whether you want to learn to dive, or you need additional dive certifications, Mac’s Sports is the place to go. Continue reading to learn more about the history of Mac’s Sports Inc. and how we grew to become one of the leading facilities, for dive training and dive trips, in Florida.
The Beach Store.
Back in 1938, the original Mac’s Sports was the only place on Clearwater Beach where you could get groceries, magazines, newspapers, tobacco, beachwear, fishing tackle, snorkel gear, soft drinks, candy, almost everything! “It was like an early 7-11”, says Ruth Johnson, “At least we were open from seven to eleven and sold most anything we thought people would want. We also rented bicycles and fishing gear!” At that time, Mac’s Sports was simply the “Beach Store” and was located on Mandalay Avenue. It opened the same year as the hamburger stand which later became the Pelican Restaurant. Meanwhile, Ruth and Carroll Johnson, newly arrived from Birmingham, Alabama, started the business and, as Ruth reports, “worked very hard to make sure it would succeed”. It cost a whole $500 to set up this business on the beach where the existing businesses were limited to the Pelican, the Palm Pavilion, Langford’s Service Station at the end of the causeway, a seafood market where the King Cole Motel now stands, and not much else.
Becoming the Mac’s of today!
After the births of their two sons, the Johnsons moved to New Mexico. “Mac” McCarthy purchased the Beach Store and renamed it “Mac’s”. During WWII, it was a favorite shopping place for the young people of the beach because Mac made sure that what few candy bars and Coca-Cola he could obtain were set aside to be sold only to youngsters. Returning from New Mexico six years later, the Johnson’s went back into the grocery business and purchased the little store back from Mac McCarthy. Their son, Jim Johnson, eventually turned it into Mac’s Dive Shop before his sports business outgrew the small building, at which point he moved the dive shop to the mainland.
And Mac’s history continues…
Finally, Brian Grindey purchased Mac’s Sport in 1998 from Jim Johnson after working and managing the store for 25 years. At the present time, the Grindey Family are the current owners of this historical and successful dive shop. Today Mac’s Sports has two locations. We have a Dive Shop/Ski and Snowboard shop in Clearwater, Florida. We also have a Dive Shop/Beach Store in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
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Mac’s Sports Inc.
Mac’s Sports Inc. is a family owned and operated dive shop with over 50 years experience teaching people to SCUBA dive, as well as teaching advanced SCUBA, classes. Whether you are looking for; beginning dive classes, specialty SCUBA classes, an upcoming dive trip, or even SCUBA rental equipment, Mac’s Sports has you covered.