RECENT ARTICLES
  • How a Trust Can Protect a Pool Business

    by Phillip M. Perry October 2018

    James has run a successful pool business for over three decades. Things are going great, but he worries about the future. What if he were to suffer a sudden decline in health, like a stroke or heart attack? What about when he passes — how can he help ensure the wealth he’s built in the business is distributed to his children without squabbling? What about other threats, like lawsuits?

    If he should suddenly become incapacitated, who will run the enterprise for the benefit of his wife...

  • Emojis Can Help Your Business

    by Abigail Carpenter September 2018

    Since their birth 20 years ago, emojis have popped up in every communication channel from text messages to Facebook, Instagram and more. While they are largely limited to personal conversations, new data shows you should be using them in business interactions, too — especially when it comes to paid social ads.

    According to a 2016 study by Twitter, emojis have been proven to boost ad effectiveness. When a branded emoji was used in a social ad post, engagement increased by 10...

  • How to Measure Social Media Marketing

    by Barrett Kilmer September 2018

    Ask anyone involved in advertising, marketing or public relations what the hardest part of their jobs is, and it won’t take long for them to mention measuring success. If a customer has a single ad playing on the radio during rush hour and sales go up, even an intern can write a report detailing the campaign’s worth. But it’s usually not that simple.

    Hot tub dealers, for example, might advertise on radio and television, send direct mail to targeted customers, put inserts into Sunday...

  • Make Way, Macy's!

    by Barrett Kilmer September 2018

    Craig Ecelbarger is the owner of Recreational Warehouse of Southwest Florida, a backyard retailer based in Fort Myers that also serves customers in beach communities about 40 miles to the south and 40 miles to the north. Until last year, he had two stores: the 16,000-square-foot flagship and a southern satellite about half that size in Naples. That left the seasonal residents, retirees and townies of Port Charlotte, on the northern end of Ecelbarger's media radius, to battle traffic on 41...

  • Is Wellness Working?

    by Eric Herman September 2018

    Back in 2016, spa manufacturing giant Watkins changed its name to Watkins Wellness. It was an attention-getting move that not only demonstrated the company's commitment to the wellness message, but was also in many ways...

  • Swimming Pools: Gone to the Dogs

    by Dana Robinson September 2018

    Most people who invest in a backyard pool have done so for two reasons. 1) They love entertaining and being outdoors. 2) The pool is a great place to spend time with family — and sometimes, those family members are of the four-legged variety.

    Many people consider their pets to be full-fledged members of the family, with all the rights and privileges thereof. That includes a seat in the car on family vacations, annual birthday celebrations (complete with bone-shaped birthday cakes)...

  • Consumers Projected to Buy Big-Ticket Items This Holiday Season

    by Abigail Carpenter September 2018

    New data released from Adobe Analytics this month should leave pool and spa retailers hopeful for high holiday sale numbers this season. According to the report, not only are retail sales up 23 percent, or $2.08 billion, from last year, shoppers are also purchasing big-ticket items.

    “The numbers bear out that we’re in for a good holiday season,” Adobe’s Director of Retail Industry Strategy Michael Klein told the Los Angeles Times. “Consumers were shopping for larger and more...

  • The Unbeatable In-Store Experience

    by Barrett Kilmer September 2018

    Spa and pool retailers aren’t the only ones getting beat up by online competition. In fact, most retail categories fare far worse than we do. Few, however, have suffered like the local record store.

    There was a time when every decent-sized city across the country had several record stores, but today the number has dwindled. Etail giants like Amazon struck the first blow by selling on low margins and delivering to doorsteps, then streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music...

  • The AQUA Truck & Van Contest Returns

    by AQUA Editors September 2018

    After sharing the winners of the first-ever Truck & Van contest, we were flooded with feedback. In particular: “When is this contest coming back so I can enter?”

    Now, in fact — we’re excited to announce we’re bringing the Truck & Van contest back for another spin.

    This year, entries will be accepted on a rolling basis through June 1, 2019. (If you're planning a wrap redesign sometime this...

  • Selling as an Exit Strategy

    by Daniel Seeger September 2018

    Rod Sterling tells a story about a family-owned pool and spa business in which the married proprietors were getting ready to retire. They had two stores and owned the building where the main business resided. Although they had rock-solid financial planning in most areas of their lives, the worth of their business was a complete mystery to them.

    “They were ready to close the door and throw the keys away,” Sterling recalls.

    As the president and founder of Sterling Advisory...