• Above And Beyond

    by Scott Webb March 2004

    Homeowner once described his above-ground pool as a "great big water dish in the backyard," suitable for Clifford The Big Red Dog. It appeared to be little more than that — a simple vessel of clear liquid, adorned with just a tarp below the ladder for changing shoes.

    Not that his kids (and a good number that weren't his) didn't enjoy the pool on a...

  • Step This Way

    by Reid Creager March 2004

    The recreational dream on wheels lit up the showroom: a $50,000 minivan with enough seating to lose a basketball star and enough extra gizmos to keep everyone in the family happily occupied. The parents and their two kids eagerly climbed inside — only to find that the overhead TV had fuzzy reception and the upholstery was garish.

    No sale.

    When you're...

  • Toys For Everyone

    by Kirstin Pires March 2004

    In case you haven't noticed, toys are not just for kids these days. More and more, adults are spending money on fun — for themselves and for the whole family. Add to that an increased interest in fitness and exercise, plus the growing trend toward folks spending more time at home (and more money on their homes), and you get a pretty good environment for selling...

  • A Will, A Grill And A Way

    by Karen Erstad March 2004

    You're not going to find a backyard with a pool or spa without a grill," says Eric Roller, sales manager for Olympia Pools & Spas in Fort Wayne, Ind. This thinking has led many pool and spa dealers, including Olympia, to add grills to their product mix. "It's just a natural fit," adds Roller.

    But grills, like pools and spas, don't sell...

  • Pleat Smarts

    by Kirstin Pires February 2004

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Hot tubs have changed a lot over the last few decades. Simple, rustic, tubs have evolved into high-tech, multi-featured spas. Materials such as acrylic, Lucite and fiberglass have replaced redwood or cedar. Jets are fancier, more plentiful and more complex. Sanitization has evolved to include more ozone and UV and less...

  • Efficiency Equation

    by Karen Erstad February 2004

    Ask any pool owner if she'd like to spend less money operating her pool by installing a more efficient system, and the answer will be a resounding "yes." No one enjoys spending money unnecessarily on energy bills.

    Furthermore, an efficient system tends to be one that preserves pool equipment. "What's critical for builders is the longevity of their...

  • Sound And Vision

    by Barrett Kilmer February 2004

    Back in the early 1970s, a wooden barrel filled with hot water comprised the entire hot tub experience. Hot tubbers, mostly Californians at first, just wanted a place to unwind and drink a little wine. Stereos and TVs? Those were in the house.

    But the idea of the hot tub lifestyle soon spread, and as it did new manufacturers cropped up, each looking to...

  • E-newsletters - Harness the power of the Internet to drive customers

    by Phillip M. Perry January 2004

    As retailing — along with the rest of the world — continues on its journey toward the land of the digital, resourceful marketers are finding new ways and refining old ways of targeting customers. These days, everyone has a Web site. But electronic newsletters, in particular, have become popular vehicles for cajoling loyal shoppers into opening their wallets wider and handing more dollars over the sales counter.

    Maybe you're thinking of starting...

  • Counter-Current Culture

    by Marj Schultz January 2004

    Ask most industry experts about the appeal of those perpeptual swimming machines known as swim spas or counter-current pools, and their answers seem pretty broad. They say swim spas are for everyone; young, old, fit or not. They point out the many possible uses and installations. It seems that the swim spa is a good answer to nearly any residential/recreational water...

  • Show Them The Money

    by Barrett Kilmer January 2004

    When customers decide to shop for a spa or pool, they come in thinking about relaxation and recreation, and it isn't until they see the line at the bottom of the sales ticket that the reality sets in that they're about to drop a good deal of money. They're all for spending money on their backyards, of course, but the size of the investment can scare some of them...