• 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...

  • Salt Solution

    by Barrett Kilmer January 2004

    Salt has many uses around the house. Besides enhancing baked potatoes, making bland burgers better and coating the rims of margarita glasses, it can be employed in gargling, stain-removal and de-icing the driveway. Historically it's been used as currency, its taxation financed the building of the Erie Canal, and it's one of the most effective food preservatives in the...

  • End Of The Rainbow

    by Joe John Duran January 2004

    After years of hard work, tenacity and perseverance, all successful business owners will eventually need to think about transitioning out of their businesses. But unlike a full-time employee for a major corporation, the typical business owner doesn't have a pension plan to rely on in the future. For many entrepreneurs their businesses are their most valuable assets. Yet for all of the hard work that business owners put into the growing and nurturing of their...

  • Cross Cultivating

    by Reid Creager November 2003

    Look alive: golf cart inbound on your left. Awwww, check out the border collie clowning around over there, and the German shepherd taking his person for a walk over here! Anybody up for a little putting.

    And hey, where'd you get that Popsicle?

    Welcome to the Greenhouse Mall just outside Austin, Texas, a 32-acre site where you can pack away your preconceived...

  • Breaking Into Billiards

    by Barrett Kilmer November 2003

    Spa and pool retailers have long been selling ancillary merchandise that complements the selling season of their core products. In winter, when customers are thinking about anything but swimming, many stores have found success selling hearth products, saunas, grills, tanning beds and, in ever-increasing numbers, billiard tables and accessories. In fact, some...

  • Successful In Seattle

    by Reid Creager September 2003

    It could happen. Right. A lasting Mideast peace could materialize. The Cubs could win the World Series. And rivals in the highly competitive spa and pool industry could not only agree to a merger but thrive in its aftermath, even in a daunting economy.

    The 1999 joining of two Seattle-area businesses — Carlson Pool & Spa and Aqua Quip — is proof...

  • Sling's Hot

    by Grayson Walker September 2003

    Despite a proliferation of casual furniture types and styles in the past few years, sling remains king of the outdoors.

    "It's definitely the meat and potatoes of our business," says Bill Ryan, owner of Seasonal Pool & Patio in Burlington, Mass. "We also sell some cushion and a fair amount of jarrah, teak and wrought iron."