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As we’ve discussed time and time again, one of the best ways to battle big box stores and e-tailers is to make your store an “experience.”
For mom-and-pop stores, that may be easier said than done. However, some retailers are taking advantage of the holiday season by decking the halls with elaborate displays that help draw in customers.
A hardware store in Colorado, for example, does this every year with great success. But there’s also a retailer in the pool and spa industry who is making the most of Christmas: Seasonal Specialty Store in Foxborough, Mass.
Each year at Seasonal Specialty, you’ll find a giant display of Christmas trees by the windows, nutcrackers at the checkout display, a cabinet of holiday-themed mugs and other signs of holiday cheer.
Addressing all the senses, too, is key.
“We try to create an ambiance,” says Michael Small, co-owner and partner of Seasonal Specialty. “We have an old-fashioned popcorn machine. When people come in, we offer them a bag of popcorn for free. We have the old-time Christmas music going. You try to give them the feel between the smell of popcorn, the sound of the music and all the lights.”
Creating the Christmas display, which has been an integral part of Seasonal Specialty for more than 35 years, is quite a production.
“We rip the store apart and put it back together again,” Small says. “We do Christmas with trees, collectibles, ceramic houses, Byer’s Choice carolers, unique gifts, lights and garland.”
Pre-lit Christmas trees are a big seller for Seasonal Specialty, and as such, they play a big part in the decor.
“Our trees are like walking through a forest with snowflakes above,” Small says. “We shut off all the overhead lights and turn spotlights onto the trees instead. It’s in front of windows, so if you’re driving by, you see all the trees.”
It may be a lot of work, but Small knows it’s a big hit among families.
“We actually have people that take their family Christmas pictures in front of our trees.”
For longer than I care to admit, the design snob in me has looked down my snooty snout on portable spas, or hot tubs, depending on the preferred terminology. (For this discussion I'll use my favorite term: "spas.") By whatever label, portable vessels that contain hot water were for many years more of a clunky appliance than part of the landscape, at least to my eyes.
It's fair to say that comfort and hydrotherapy, rather than aesthetics, have long been the driving element behind spa...
We always say that pool construction tracks closely with housing starts, and historically that has always been the case. But is that still true? And are there other economic indicators that are as correlative with the state of the pool industry?
Indeed, pools have tracked with housing starts. But then, in 2011, things began to change. Starts stopped prompting pools. Moreover, two new indicators began to explain a lot of things about the floundering pool business.
Here at AQUA, we spend a lot of time discussing the in's and outs of your work life, but what about life outside of work? On our Facebook page, we asked you to tell us about the hobbies and passions you enjoy off the clock. We got a wave of responses that included everything from motorcycling to music to statue making!
Have a hobby you'd like to share? Send photos to read more
For landscape lighting designer Scott Armusewicz, Jr., it's all about discovering possibilities after the sun goes down. As lead lighting designer with Hamptons Landscape Lighting (Southampton, N.Y.), Armusewicz says he's always on the lookout for opportunities to create unique effects while also being sensitive to the client's needs.
"It's all about finding that unique piece that will give the client something special, but at the same time give them exactly what they're looking...