Forty years ago this month, we started out in the magazine business. We were Spa And Sauna magazine then. It was September 1976, the Olympics had just concluded, Bruce Jenner was in the headlines…

Obviously, some things have changed.

For example, Spa and Sauna magazine became AQUA. We changed the name to reflect the fact that most North American spa dealers were leisure aquatics dealers; they'd either started out as pool stores and acquired spas or vice versa. And they were developing the same broad array of outdoor backyard products one sees today.

But though we changed the name, we never left our roots in the spa business.

And for that reason, we decided to kick off our 40th anniversary celebration with this month-long tribute to the people who bring us that convenient container of hot bubbly water to sink into — who gift to the world the exalted, grounding moment of ahhh.

Throughout the month of September we'll be bringing you a jetted stream of stories on different aspects of the spa business, from chemistry to installation to retailing, starting today with a look back on the birth of the portable hot tub industry — tales from the early days when starting up a spa company meant clearing out some space in the garage. You could build them and sell them yourself in those days — everybody wanted one!

So wish us a happy birthday, we’re 40 this month. That’s a birthday where you reflect on the years past and what you’ve done. Our story is a lot like yours. We weathered the storms and the downturns, and now we’re growing steadily and building for the future. If you’re reading this, most likely that is true for you.

We’ll be taking time this year to recognize and reflect on these blessings. I hope you’ll join in that spirit.

Tags: AQUA
Scott Webb is Executive Editor of AQUA Magazine.