|We welcome Pinch A Penny #32 as one of our newest Nordic Dealer Partners! Owned by Mark and Laurie Barnett, the Pinch A Penny Store #32 is located in the town of Ocala, Florida and is part of the larger Pinch A Penny franchise network headquartered in Clearwater, Florida.
Mark started out in the pool and spa industry in 1986 by working on electrical systems for pools. From there he moved into the manufacturing side of the industry and built pool equipment until last year. As Mark states, “I had friends that owned some of the Pinch A Penny stores and they did pretty well, so I figured, why not?” The Pinch A Penny Corporation has a ‘family owned’ culture which appealed to Mark and Laurie.
The Barnetts took over the Ocala franchise in 2016 and worked tirelessly to update their store, establish good business systems and put a stellar team together. They currently employ a staff of 10 and will look adding as the business grows.
Mark and Laurie are people who see challenges as opportunities. When asked what their biggest challenge has been, Mark answers with a grin, “It’s too soon. I haven’t really encountered any yet!” But he quickly adds that becoming accustomed to the retail side of business along with the franchise culture has been a learning curve for them.
Mark is confident with his experience in both the manufacturing and installation of pools, spas and equipment which he feels gives him and his team a leg up on the competition. “I don’t really pay a lot of attention to what the competition is doing, I just do it my way,” says Mark.
Jerry Kisgen, Regional Sales Manager for Nordic Hot Tubs, feels that the Barnetts are on the right path as he states, “Mark and Laurie seem to know instinctively what to do to make their store a success. They are well versed in the industry and are good people to work with. We’re happy to welcome them into the Nordic Dealer Family!”
In looking forward to 2018, Mark says he feels like he has a split personality. “I want warm weather for the pool side of my business and cool weather for the hot tub side!” he laughs. Regardless of the weather, he and Laurie will continue to build their sales and clientele. “In addition to our pool and spa equipment, we offer warranty service work, cleaning and other services. We also offer very high quality artificial turf which makes the yard look great, it’s permeable so water drains well and it minimizes debris in and around a pool!” states Mark. The products and services they offer are all focused on turning backyards and patios into backyard oases.
Mark brought in Nordic Hot Tubs early in 2017. “We like that Nordic tubs are more simplified and all USA driven,” says Mark. In addition, he feels the HDPE shell material holds up better in the southern climates as they don’t fade or dull in the heat.
The Barnetts come into retail with a fresh approach and Mark offers this advice to other dealers, “Don’t pre-judge a customer.” He feels every customer is someone you can help in some way unless you’ve already decided you can’t.
Mark and Laurie Barnett and the Pinch A Penny #32 Sales Team can be reached through the website or find them on Facebook.
Storefront of Pinch A Penny #32 located in Ocala, Florida.
The beautifully remodeled showroom
of Pinch A Penny #32.
|Located about 42 minutes East of Philadelphia, is Coatesville, Pennsylvania home to Gritz Pools. Founded by Henry Gritz in 1963, Gritz Pools has been building in-ground vinyl pools for satisfied customers in and around Coatesville for over 54 years!
When Henry retired in 1984, his son, Mark took over. Mark had a different vision for the business and embarked on a steady process of updating and streamlining processes. Henry had built a solid reputation for the business with quality, hand-built products and workmanship. Mark felt strongly about continuing the tradition but, with a few modifications.
Mark researched heavily, upgraded suppliers and brought in lines of hot tubs and equipment to round out the inventory. Currently, Gritz Pools builds in-ground vinyl liner pools, installs outdoor showers, performs pool demolitions and provides pool water delivery. They sell and install hot tubs along with offering a complete line of chemicals, components and equipment needed by pool and hot tub owners.
What sets Gritz Pools apart is the personal service they offer their customers. According to Pati Sweitzer, Marketing Manager at Gritz Pools, “Even for something as simple as chemicals, our staff will help them carry the products to their car and we know our customers by name.” She goes on to add, “This is one reason why our customers are always recommending us, personal service. We continue to be a family owned and operated business.”
Gritz Pools weathered the recession in 2009 by continuing to build quality pools and offer prompt, reliable service. Sweitzer states, “The recession brought luxury purchases down a lot but we feel they are coming back strong. We hung in there and our spa sales are up 70% this year alone!”
Listening to their customers’ requests has Gritz Pools looking to expand the service aspect of their business. “We get a lot of requests from customers to clean and maintain their pools and hot tubs,” says Sweitzer. “At present, with around 12 employees, we don’t have the staff to do it.” However, Mark’s daughter, Erica, would like to add this type of service and is in the planning stages of setting this up. “We just don’t want to jump in and not offer the service they [customers] know and have come to expect,” states Sweitzer. She adds that as they continue to increase sales, they are working to be able to give customers that ‘peace of mind’ maintenance option long after the sale.
Gritz Pools attended the Atlantic City Show held in January of this year to look for a line of hot tubs to add to their inventory. According to Sweitzer, “We liked the Nordic Story and the fact they are made in the USA,” says Sweitzer. She goes on to say, “We heard they were simple to operate and easy to maintain so we decided to bring them in. We’ll let you know more in a year!” Sweitzer indicates they are extremely pleased so far.
Sweitzer has this advice for other dealers, “Let customers know they are appreciated!” To do this, Gritz Pools has a large Customer Appreciation Event twice yearly. But, as Sweitzer says, “that isn’t the only way to show customers they are valued.” Sweitzer feels that customer appreciation is shown daily and in responding timely to customer requests. “Our pool business is very seasonal here, just a few months out of the year. So, when they need things done or fixed we try to respond ASAP!” states Sweitzer.
Contact Gritz Pools and the Gritz Sales Team through the website or find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
A Nordic Impulse DP beautifully displayed by Gritz Pools.
Gritz Pools offers a full range of chemicals and equipment to maintain pools and hot tubs.
|CONGRATULATIONS to Antony Perry of URBAN CEDAR for being featured in Trip Advisor’s Top Vacation Rentals Around the World as shared by USA TODAY!
Antony, one of our European Dealers, is located in Bristol, England; you may remember Antony from being featured on BBC’s The Apprentice.
The property featured on Trip Advisor’s list is at Hedgehog Corner, located in Lyme Regis, Dorset, England and is listed as the #4 pick in the Mid-Range Rental Category.
The hot tub from URBAN CEDAR features prominently in the photographs of the property on Trip Advisor!
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