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Story #66Lynnhaven Dive CenterVirginia Beach, VA

We’re not just in the business to teach people how to dive. Anybody can, honestly, do that. But what we really are in the business of doing is changing people’s lives.

Lindsey Hillier-Hotchkiss basically grew up in Lynnhaven Dive Center, the Virginia Beach small business that her father, “Big Mike” Hillier, founded in 1979. When a bout with cancer in the early 2000’s forced her father to stop working, Hillier-Hotchkiss gave up her successful nursing career to take over the family business. She and her husband Scott Hotchkiss now share ownership of the dive center, which offers a variety of SCUBA lessons, diving trips, swim classes, summer camps and more.

While Hillier-Hotchkiss may not have planned on this career path, her time spent at the dive shop growing up and her father’s guidance fostered in her a lifelong passion for diving. She and Hotchkiss view it as a lifestyle rather than a business. “We want everyone to explore the other 70 percent of the Earth that is just sitting right here,” says Hillier-Hotchkiss. “When people see how beautiful it is, they become more appreciative of the life under water, and also see how fragile that ecosystem is.”

The diving industry presents a challenge in that it’s a disposable income sport, and the economic downfall certainly affected Lynnhaven Dive Center. “It made us reevaluate our plans and focus more on customer service,” says Hotchkiss. “The one thing you cannot get on the Internet is customer service.” Hillier-Hotchkiss adds that her father also taught her a golden lesson: “the benefit of being a small business is that we can change quickly to meet the needs of our community.”

Community support and returning customers have kept Lynnhaven Dive Center in business, and they’ve made sure to do their part to give back. Their efforts include hosting an annual Dive for a Cure fundraiser (through which they have raised $800,000 for cancer research over the last 18 years) and offering free lessons for wounded warriors. “It’s not for us, it’s for them,” says Hotchkiss.

As for the future, “we want our family, our kids, to grow up in this dive shop just like Lindsey did. It’s more of a lifestyle than anything else for us.”

Photos by Nadav Neuhaus

  • For over 35 years, Lynnhaven Dive Center has been a leader in dive training in the Virginia Beach area, Virginia. With an indoor heated pool, outdoor pool, and custom dive boat, LDC offers everything from swim lessons to advanced diving certification. Shown Here: Divers in the pool at Lynnhaven Dive Center. Photo Credit: Nadav Neuhaus

  • Divers take part in a lesson in the pool at Lynnhaven Dive Center. The small business has done its part to give back to their community with an annual Dive for a Cure fundraiser, from which all proceeds go to cancer research, as well as offering free lessons for wounded warriors.

  • A customer appears through the window at Lynnhaven Dive Center. Owner Lindsey Hillier-Hotchkiss says that one of the most valuable lessons she learned from her father is that “the benefit of being a small business is that we can change quickly.”

  • An employee at Lynnhaven Dive Center in Virginia Beach, Va.

  • Lindsey Hillier-Hotchkiss prepares to dive at the pool at Lynnhaven Dive Center in Virginia Beach, Va. While she may not have planned on owning the family business, she essentially grew up at the shop and a passion for diving is in her blood.

  • The pool at Lynnhaven Dive Center in Virginia Beach, Va.

  • Mike Hillier (far right), founder of Lynnhaven Dive Center, stands in front of the shop with his family. A bout with cancer in the early 2000s forced Hillier to stop working, and his daughter Lindsey took over the family business.

  • Divers from Lynnhaven Dive Center on the way to an early morning dive. "We want everyone to explore the other 70 percent of the Earth that is just sitting right here,” says owner Lindsey Hillier-Hotchkiss.

  • Lindsey Hillier-Hotchkiss and Scott Hotchkiss, owners of Lynnhaven Dive Center, jump from their boat by an old lighthouse in Virginia Beach. Lindsey hired Scott as a SCUBA instructor in 2007, and by 2009 they were married.

  • Divers from Lynnhaven Dive Center on the way to an early morning dive.

  • Lynnhaven Dive Center has been a staple in the Virginia Beach area for more than 35 years. With an indoor pool and custom dive boat, LDC offers everything from swim lessons to advanced diving certification.

Business Details

Proprietor: Lindsey & Scott Hotchkiss
1413 N Great Neck Rd. Virginia Beach, VA 23454
PH: 757-481-7949 / Website
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