• New buying group thinks they can bring success to the hot tub industry

    by Kirstin Pires October 2008

    Wise businesspeople know that reinventing the wheel is a waste of resources. Those same people know that some of the best ideas can be found just by looking around. If an idea works for a similar enterprise, odds are good it will work for yours.

    That's what Dave Frakes and Steve Bryant thought. Together with Jesse Roberts of Roberts Pool & Spa, they have launched RecWay, a buying and marketing group for pool and spa businesses modeled on the success of a similar group in the...

  • Award-winning pool and spa retail store design

    by Barrett Kilmer October 2008

    The story of Ron Hinderliter's humble beginnings and steady rise in the backyard retail business is a familiar one: He worked for a pool company in college, did a little service on his own after that, hired a few hands to help out with construction then moved out of his garage and into a small retail location. He built up a loyal customer base for his company and beat the odds by simply keeping...

  • Spread holiday cheer with seasonal employees

    by Phillip M. Perry September 2008

    The year-end holidays bring many things to mind - Christmas carols, crowded aisles and ringing cash registers among them.

    Unfortunately, not every image is a happy one. Maybe you're among the many retailers who dread holiday seasons when their stores have too few employees to service the spike in customers.

    Shoppers who feel inconvenienced by inadequate service, of course, go elsewhere. Indeed, they can remember their discontent for a long time, depressing your profits for...

  • Face-to-face marketing trumps mass marketing

    by Alan Bayham September 2008

    Turn on the TV or radio, surf the Internet, open your mail (or e-mail) - what do you notice? You probably have a high volume of advertisements and marketing campaigns targeting you, begging for your attention and your business. But do you open every envelope or listen to every commercial plea? No. Why, then, would you think your customers would be any different?

    Spam e-mail, blogs, instant messages, television, canned phone messages and other electronic methods of mass marketing have...

  • Four steps to making a decision in an instant

    by Maurice A. Ramirez, D.O. September 2008

    In the last minutes before the closing bell on a Friday, a stockbroker known for his nerves of steel suddenly dumps his high-risk portfolio - seemingly without regard to price or loss. At the bar that night, his colleagues openly rib him about his uncharacteristic behavior and privately wonder if he has lost his nerve when he admits he didn't have any research to back up the trades. The markets would be closed for a holiday weekend, but when they reopened on Tuesday, the market sank like a...

  • Advancements in technology have giving pool owners reason to replace old pool heaters

    by Scott Webb September 2008

    Most pool owners wait for a catastrophic failure before deciding to replace their old heaters, figuring a new one is a waste of money if the old one still heats the pool. But often that's too late - the old heater has already wasted many hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars through inefficient fuel consumption.

    While the savings are compelling, there are a number of practical...

  • Tips for vinyl-liner replacement

    by Scott Webb September 2008

    Rejuvenating a pool by replacing the liner is a high-profile project that, if done professionally, earns homeowners' respect and often referrals. A few precautions, as well as consideration of potential pitfalls, can help ensure a profitable job and access to the free advertising network (positive word-of-mouth).

    Like all contracted work, vinyl replacement begins with a customer...

  • In down economy, automatic pool covers sales are up

    by Scott Webb August 2008

    Five years ago, the phrases "energy conservation" and "pool safety" did not have the same clarion ring they do today. These movements had their advocates, but a sizeable proportion of pool owners and builders were only mildly interested in these issues, and products that addressed them were selling at a mildly increasing rate.

    That was then. Today we have what is...

  • Sell more spa chemicals by listening to your customers

    by Scott Webb August 2008

    A customer stopping in to pick up chemicals for a spa is a matter of daily routine in a retail store. Every working spa needs chemicals, so it should be an easy sale.

    That's one way to look at it. Another way is to see this common everyday interaction as a retailer's best, most frequent opportunity to bind customers into the store, fend off competition from the big box, and in the...

  • Did you marry your job or are you just dating?

    by Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden August 2008

    My 33-year-old son recently remarked, "People no longer marry their jobs - they just date them." Having worked for virtually every casual-themed restaurant chain in America, he speaks from experience. When his comment finished sinking in, I realized two things: 1) He's right, and 2) That statement is pretty profound.

    Not long ago, ran a piece summarizing a European Union survey of the average job tenure of...