Teen taking the plunge as owner of Port Orchard scuba shop

"Tagert's Dive Locker, a full-service retail store and scuba certification school, was supposed to have opened its new Port Orchard location in early May. But unexpected difficulties in the process of remodeling the building it will occupy have set back the grand opening until mid-June.It's just as well - the delay gives the buisiness' owner a chance to finish high school.Officially, Jacky Tagert, 18, will be one of three owners of Tagert's Dive Locker, along with her father Dave and mother Marilyn. But with her father busy operating Tagert's Underwater Services, a subsidiary offering underwater boat cleaning and maintenance, and her mother running the family's original Gig Harbor dive shop, it's clear the new Port Orchard location is Jacky's baby.I'm definitely a little nervous about it, she said. Scuba diving is traditionally a man's sport. It's hard enough to get people to take a female seriously, let alone a young one. But I'm sure in time they'll accept me as just one of the guys.Tagert, who has been a certified diver since the age of 12, will oversee the retail side of the Port Orchard store as well as teach classes. Typically, it takes three weeks to earn one's certification as a scuba diver. Students attend two three-hour sessions a week, which includes classroom work as well as practice in the water. Tagert expects to rent time at the South Kitsap High School pool for her students.The new Port Orchard store, located at 250 Bethel Ave., was originally scheduled to be open by May 5, but the remodeling work is taking longer than expected.The building is sitting right at the base of a steep hill, and the drainage has just devastated it, Tagert said. The walls and floors were all rotted away and we had to replace all of that.The building, which the Tagerts are leasing, is also getting new carpets and furnishings, and a classroom and retail sales area is also being built.We've videotaped the whole thing and we'll show it when we have our grand opening, just so everyone knows how much we've put into this, Tagert said. We didn't have to do as much as we did, and we could have had someone else do it, she said. But we had specific ideas about what we wanted. It has to be creative, and it has to have character. I think everyone will be really impressed when it opens.The family opened its first dive shop in Poulsbo in 1993, and moved the business to Gig Harbor a year later.Jacky Tagert has helped out in the family business from almost the very beginning. She's also active in the Kitsap County Sheriff's Department's Cadet program, and envisions one day using her scuba training in a law enforcement capacity.One way or another, she said, I want this to be my life's work."

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