Published: Jul 19, 2012 8:58 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - West Marine is celebrating the opening of its new flagship store in Fort Myers with a charity fundraiser to support local, non-profit groups in southwest Florida.  The store caters to fishing and boating community in the area and will be giving back to these groups linked to the life on the water during "Cruising for a Cause" Thursday, July 19th.

The store opened its doors Thursday morning and has several things planned for the grand opening weekend.  It gets started with the charity event from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the store.  Tickets at the door are $10 and the money goes to support groups directly in line with the store's mission of working to conserve marine resources, reduce the impact on the environment, and promote boating.  The organizations benefiting from the charity auction include; Edison Sailing Center, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, Golisano Children's Museum of Naples, Snook & Gamefish Foundation, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society.

The event will include silent auction items, raffle items, food, drink, and live entertainment.  But the highlight of the night includes a live auction.  Reknowned underwater photographer, Tony Ludovico will have two limited edition prints up for bid.  Plus, you can also bid on a fishing trip for four on Friday, July 20 with Edgar Hansen, Deck Boss of the F/V Northwestern featured on the television show "Deadliest Catch."

Ludovico and Hansen will also be back at the store on Saturday to sign autographs.  Ludovico from noon to 2:00 p.m. and Hansen from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson will also be on hand to cut the ribbon for the grand opening at 6:00 p.m.