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A one-stop shop for all things aquatic

DiVentures opens brand new swimming and diving center in North Liberty
DiVentures, a full-service facility for divers, has opened its new facility at 1895 W. Penn St. in North Liberty.

NORTH LIBERTY After two years in the community, DiVentures SCUBA and Swim Center has opened a new facility on West Penn Street in North Liberty. A grand opening and ribbon cutting event was held on Saturday, Nov. 2, for the 8,500-square foot facility, which replaces a much smaller, temporary location in North Liberty.
DiVentures founder Dean Hollis explained the many unique features, and rationale for locating a dive shop in Eastern Iowa.
Were about as far from the water as you can get, so weve decided to bring the water to us, he said. Hollis founded DiVentures in Omaha, Neb., 10 years ago and expanded to Springfield, Mo., and Madison, Wis., before opening up a 1,000 sq. ft. shop along Ranshaw Way in 2017. In the winter, people in the Midwest want to get out, enjoy some warmth, some sun to get them through those winter months, Hollis said. While there are several dive-able lakes in Iowa, many take advantage of travel packages put together by DiVentures, and head for the waters of exotic locales such as Cozumel. Hollis pointed out such an excursion is almost as easy as heading out to an Iowa lake.
You can leave here at 6 a.m., be at Cozumel by noon, and be in the water by 2 p.m. So, thats not bad. And its warm, and theres sun, and theres a beach, he said.
For those needing a diving fix close to home while in the icy grip of an Iowa winter, DiVentures offers dry suit training and diving, which makes diving in a frozen lake possible. We have some divers who dive year-round, Hollis said. DiVentures supports the Johnson County Metro Dive Team, an all-volunteer group of specially-trained divers, who sometimes are called out for rescue and recovery operations during the winter months.
Part of what makes DiVentures special is the facility, Hollis said. Weve got an indoor, heated, year-round pool here. We have classrooms, we have retail space, we have service, we have travel; so, you get it all in one spot. Our facilities make us different. Hollis pointed out the variety of educational programming DiVentures offers, including a learn to swim class and progressing all the way to technical swimming (for triathlons and other competitions). In-house SCUBA training ranges from the most basic introduction to SCUBA diving, to advanced certifications. But, a new building, and catalog of classes alone arent enough. Hollis pointed to his staff as the keystone.
We felt there was a real demand in the community for a facility like this, programming like this, so we came here for the people, and we have great people who work here, he said. They have tremendous experience with our swim teachers, our retail people, our travel team, and our SCUBA instructors. Its all about the people, with us.
Safety and feeling comfortable are at the heart of all of DiVentures programs, Hollis said. Safety is our number one priority, fun is our number one goal, but theyre not mutually exclusive. If youre going to have fun in the water, you have to be safe in the water. So, we like to start them as early as possible. Swim classes at DiVentures start with Mom and Me programs for kids as young as 3 months old, and there are also classes for adults to learn how to swim.
For those thinking about exploring diving, DiVentures has a program that begins with some online training, which is followed by classroom sessions and four or five in-water sessions in the pool. We teach them the skills, and then we go out to the lake, or we go out to the ocean, and we do four open-water sessions where they can demonstrate that theyve mastered the skills. Through it all, be it weekend, weekday, or even private sessions, Hollis reiterated being safe and feeling confident is paramount. Well take as long as it takes to make sure that someone is safe and confident in the water.
You dont necessarily have to take the plunge and take all of the classes to become a certified diver, Hollis added. DiVentures has an introductory program where people can give SCUBA diving a try during a two-hour session. Kids can start diving at the age of 8, with different programs through the age of 16, when they can do open water diving. After that we have advanced open water, and theres all sorts of specialties, Hollis said. Theres deep diving, theres boat diving, shore diving, low-visibility and night diving, all sorts of specialties.
Part of the allure for diving is the peacefulness, the quiet and the tranquility which is found underwater, Hollis explained.
Its relaxing, its beautiful, theres beautiful fish, beautiful coral, and you get to experience something you wouldnt experience on land. Over 75 percent of the Earth is water, so we ought to experience it and be able to enjoy it.
DiVentures staff is committed to ensuring their customers enjoy all things aquatic.
Were just obsessed with customer service, said Hollis. We call it concierge level service, whether its in SCUBA, well give you the individual attention to make sure youre safe and confident in the water, all the way to travel. If you go to travel, well take care of everything. You wont have to worry about anything. Weve had people say they dont really want to dive with a group come with us, and they dont ever want to travel alone again. DiVentures has an over 80 percent rate of repeat travelers, said Chief Marketing Officer Christine Hughey.
Were in the swim business. Were in the SCUBA business. Were in the travel business. We also say were in the customer relationship business, Hollis said. Were in the people business. This is just a fun place for people to come. They come in here and they want to have fun. So thats what were all about, safety and fun.
DiVentures is located at 1895 W. Penn St. in North Liberty and is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Phone 319-665-2741 or email northliberty@diventures.com for more information. Online you can check out DiVentures at http://diventures.com, and on Facebook at DiventuresNorthLiberty.
Hollis extended an invitation to, Come by and check us out.