"Without customers, we don't have a business. However, at Patio Pleasures, we wanted more than just customers. We wanted to create connection."

—Rene Huston
President, Patio Pleasures Pools & Spas


"Our story is a fun one," writes Rene Huston, president of Patio Pleasures Pools & Spas (Sun Prairie, Wis.), and she's not wrong. It all started with a big gamble: Huston and her husband, Brett, bought Patio Pleasures from the then-owner in 2006. Neither of them (nor Huston's twin sister Adrianne DeSelle, who would join the company as a VP of marketing and retail operations), had industry experience. And they did it in the middle of a recession that drastically thinned the population of pool and spa retailers.

"Basically, we were ignorance on fire!" she says. "We knew little about the industry, but we came to the table with incredible work ethics, entrepreneurship in our hearts and a vision of what we wanted."

That tenacity led the business to prosper. Since 2006, sales have grown by a whopping 10 times, making Patio Pleasures a multi-million dollar company. And, never ones for complacency, company leaders have continued to tap into their natural entrepreneurial skills to push the business in new directions.

Last year, for example, Patio Pleasures embarked on an extensive rebrand. Unlike the common tropical theme you'll find in pool stores, the company took a cue from HGTV and gave the showroom a modern farmhouse feel with shiplap, distressed wood accents, galvanized steel, warm lighting and a lot of texture. The new look is augmented by new product lines like burlap tote bags, rugs and other outdoor decor items that draw the eye (and the checkbook). All together, the store paints the picture of an aspirational lifestyle straight out of Pinterest and Instagram.

"We recently had a customer walk into the new showroom and say, 'I feel like I'm at Disney World," Huston says.

Tying it all together is the new mission statement, "Inspiring the Endless Weekend," coined to honor Patio Pleasures' focus on all things outdoor.

"It encourages people to go outside and enjoy life's special moments," Huston says. "If we can make that experience better with a pool, hot tub or fire pit to gather around — that's what makes what we do so great.

 

Tags: AQUA 100
Cailley Hammel is Managing Editor of AQUA Magazine.