• The Wellness First Approach

    by Cailley Hammel April 2018

    For many on Long Island, the phrase "hot tub" is synonymous with Ocean Spray Hot Tubs & Saunas. (It's only natural when your business has been around nearly 40 years.)

    However, for the last year and a half, the Ocean Spray team has made a collective, concerted effort to change what people think of when they think of the company. Instead of "hot tubs," they're going for "wellness."

    According to Marketing Director Kristy Verity, the shift was inspired by Watkins' rebrand...

  • Inspiration for a Retail Destination

    by Kathryn Howard March 2018

    You've heard it countless times: If you want your retail store to stand out from the competition, you have to make your store into an experience that customers can't get elsewhere.

    Easier said than done, right? It's hard to take that sentiment and turn it into actionable steps. But you can start today by learning from those who stood in your shoes — and eventually mastered what you're trying to achieve.


  • 2018 Outdoor Living Product Roundup

    by AQUA Editors March 2018

    We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Outdoor living should be a important part of your business. According to the 2017 Houzz Landscape Study, only 6 percent of homeowners (specifically, homeowners who had an outdoor project either planned, in progress or completed) were planning on a pool for the backyard. Compare that to a patio/terrace, which was the most popular outdoor project at 39 percent.

    Pool and spa retailers and builders should see a lot of promise in those...

  • "Alexa, Turn My Pool On!"

    by Scott Webb March 2018

    Advances in home automation have accelerated in recent years, as the idea of buying products to automatically perform tasks around the home has caught on, especially with younger homeowners. Alongside this movement has been the rapid growth of intelligent voice command devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, which can be used to control a "smart" home.

    Voice command devices now direct the performance of a vast array of mundane, traditional home tasks — everything from adjusting...

  • How to Hire a Hero

    by Rudy Stankowitz March 2018

    "Echo Tango Suitcase and I'm back on the block. Meeting is at 0900 hours. Into my good civvies and I am Oscar Tango Mike."

    You have two candidates waiting for interviews, though you only scheduled one at a time and thirty minutes apart. One is sitting thumbing through a copy of AQUA Magazine, the other stands even though an empty seat is available. This individual not only stands, but also stands out. Perfect posture and arms crossed, the veteran has his/her back six inches off the...

  • The Hard Truths About Attracting New Talent to the Pool Industry

    by Leon Rawitz March 2018

    Last year, industry marketing consultant Leon Rawitz traveled to major pool and spa commerce centers across the U.S. to get a firsthand look at the state of retail. In the October 2017 issue, he wrote about several of his findings. (See "Winning Against Online Merchants.") Here, he shares his insights on the labor crunch in the pool and spa industry.

    Any discussion regarding attracting and...

  • New Report Finds Good News For Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

    by AQUA Editors March 2018

    No matter how low e-commerce retailers price their products, brick-and-mortar retailers have a big advantage over their online counterparts: the ability to put a product in a customer’s hands before the sale. In fact, according to a report by digital commerce agency Astound Commerce, 73 percent of consumers visit a brick-and-mortar store for that very reason.

    Called “Save Our Stores” (or “S.O.S.” for short), the report combines the results of 1,000 consumer surveys with a mystery...

  • The Next Generation Speaks

    by AQUA Editors March 2018

    The future of the industry has long been a concern in the pool and spa industry, but over the past couple years in particular, the issue has reached a boiling point. Who will take over from the greying generation of pros who are itching to retire? How will we find young people interested in getting their hands dirty in service and building?

    Those concerns are merited. However, while putting our Next Generation Issue together,...

  • Creating Your Legacy

    by Eric Herman March 2018

    Planning succession is one of the greatest challenges business owners face — even more so for smaller companies where the owner, founder, CEO or head honcho often remain integral to daily operations. Finding, grooming and handing over control to the right person or set of people requires careful forethought and deliberate action over years. How you approach that all-encompassing process is at the heart of building a legacy.

    That’s the core message in “

  • Technology: A Small Business’s Secret Weapon

    by Dan McManus March 2018

    With the explosion of online shopping, brick-and-mortar small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in specialized industries, such as pool and spa, have many challenges. Ecommerce and price-checking tools have made it difficult for brick-and-mortar stores to keep competitive product pricing intact without hurting the bottom line. In addition, finding, training and retaining sales associates for brick-and-mortar locations can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. For many SMBs, getting...