CPSC, Gecko, Announce Recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in cooperation with Gecko Alliance of Canetons, Quebec, announced a voluntary recall of about 1,670 Hydropool Serenity Series hot tubs outfitted with Gecko SSPA-1 controls. Gecko Alliance says it has received 28 reports of the spa control overheating, including one incident of damage to spa equipment. No injuries have been reported.

The units, which have serial numbers 01350XXXX - 03210X-XXX, were sold by Hydropool dealers throughout the Northeast from January 2002 through December 2004.

The CPSC instructs consumers to immediately stop using the hot tubs and set the control to the minimum temperature. Consumers should contact Gecko Alliance's Back-Pak support center at www.back-pak.com or 800/784-3256, to receive a free retrofit kit.

Ad Agency Chosen For Hot Tub Initiative

The Richards Group has been chosen as the advertising agency that will take the Hot Tub Council's Hot Tub Industry Growth Initiative into its next phase. The Dallas-based agency was selected from three finalist agencies at a meeting in Alexandria, Va., in March.

"After a comprehensive search and the consideration of a range of qualified choices, we are extremely confident in The Richards Group to drive the branding and advertising component of the Council's planned growth initiative," said Steve Gorlin, chairman of the APSP's Hot Tub Council Strategic Planning Committee.

The Richards Group is the largest independent advertising firm in the United States, with over 700 employees. The agency is noted for award-winning campaigns on behalf of clients such as Home Depot, Chick-Fil-A, Motel 6 and Bridgestone Tires. Richards's integrated online campaign for GO RVing has resulted in a 900 percent increase in leads.

"Online marketing will be a critical component of the Hot Tub Industry Growth Initiative because the typical hot tub consumer is Internet savvy and tends to do extensive product research online," said Bill Weber, president and CEO of APSP. "Also, due to the cost-effectiveness of Internet campaigns, it was important to select an agency with a strong capability in that area, which, given their experience with GO RVing, Richards obviously has."

IAPMO Developing Green Code Standards

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials held the inaugural meeting of its Green Technical Committee in April. The committee convened to formally launch IAPMO's efforts to create a green supplement to their plumbing and mechanical codes and also explore ways to add sustainable concepts to the Uniform Family of Codes.

The Green Technical Committee "seeks to develop and maintain a supplemental document establishing requirements for green plumbing and mechanical systems, while ensuring these practices are safe and reliable. The green plumbing and mechanical supplement will also serve as a repository for provisions that can ultimately be integrated into the Uniform Codes and supplement codes developed by other organizations," according to a statement from IAPMO.

"By creating a comprehensive green plumbing and mechanical supplement, many proactive jurisdictions will have the option of adopting the requirements or using them as a resource to complement their existing plumbing and mechanical codes," said Dave Viola, IAPMO director of special services. "Many municipalities across the country have been asking for such a document."

BioLab Opens Retail Concept Store

BioLab has opened a new retail concept store in Suwanee, Ga. Called "wknd.," the store will offer products and services to consumers and also serve as a field laboratory to test retail and marketing concepts in a real-world environment. The store will feature BioGuard and SpaGuard pool care products, Sundance spas and Pentair pool equipment in addition to various backyard accessories.

At www.thewkndstore.com, customers are invited to "Walk in our door and you'll immediately be inspired. Whether you know exactly what you want or don't have the first notion about what could be possible, wknd.'s experts are here to guide you to enjoying your own space in your own way, every day of the week."

Web Site Shares Design Hits And Misses

HGTV.com added outdoor rooms to its "Rate My Space" Web feature. Decks, patios and gardens join the existing room categories of bathrooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchens and living rooms. Since launching on Feb. 20, the social-networking site has generated more than 7.6 million page views according to Omniture, and users have uploaded more than 3,600 photos of their spaces at http://ratemyspace.hgtv.com.

Rate My Space is a user-generated companion to HGTV.com's Designers' Portfolio, a gallery of more than 1,000 images submitted by professional designers featured on HGTV. This site offers inspiration through samples that are searchable by categories and style.

New Casual Furniture, Garden Dealer Program

ThermoSpas has launched a dealer program designed for outdoor living, casual furniture and garden center retailers and has announced that its European-market spa line will be offered to U.S. dealers under the name of Sparta Spas.

The new dealer program includes a spa line not available elsewhere in the United States, free delivery, customer care and service on hot tubs sold by participating dealers plus free leads generated by the company's ad campaign.

IPSSA Safety Videos Online

The Independent Pool and Spa Service Association recently released a series of 12 safety videos. With subjects ranging from suction-entrapment avoidance to filter cleaning to Water-Watcher tags, the short videos are aimed at pool techs as well as the general public. The streaming videos can be viewed at the organization's Web site, www.ipssa.com.

Inaugural Pool & Spa Safety Week Launches

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals announced the first annual APSP Pool & Spa Safety Week May 31-June 6. As part of an ongoing effort by the APSP to support the new Pool & Spa Safety Act passed by Congress last December, the week is dedicated to educating the public on making safety a priority while enjoying swimming pools and hot tubs.

The APSP has created template press releases, radio scripts and print ads that retailers can use to publicize safety week activities. More information is at www.apsp.org.