|Nestled along the West Coast of Michigan, in one of the strategic fruit growing counties, is the town of Hart, home our Nordic Dealer Partner, Country Acres. Damon VanderZanden, purchased Country Acres from the original owner, Pat DeWitt, around 14 years ago. “I was a golf course superintendent and wanted to get into something different and little more stable” states VanderZanden. “We owned the Laundromat next door and when we heard Pat was going to retire, we decided to purchase the hot tub store!” he says with a grin.
In summer, Oceana County bustles with activity as fruit season peaks and tourists flock to the State Park Sand Dune area just west of Hart. Winters have been milder and the snowmobiling season has dwindled over the last decade. As a business owner in a seasonal area, VanderZanden knows diversifying is the key to success. In addition to the Laundromat and Country Acres, VanderZanden also runs a carpet cleaning business. “But we’re getting out of the snowmobile parts and clothing,” he adds. “It was a good run but we are moving on.”
Customer satisfaction is also very important in a smaller community. “What sets us apart is our service,” says VanderZanden. “One of the best marketing tools for us is word of mouth. We get a ton of referrals each year not just for hot tubs but pool maintenance as well. We have a very good name for ourselves.”
VanderZanden has had his challenges, especially in the Michigan economic climate. However, the biggest obstacle he feels he’s overcome is finding the right mix of employees for his businesses. Currently, Country Acres has 3 employees. “We have a great staff right now,” states VanderZanden. “Everyone is happy. I do the all the service and I have a good sales staff! We’ve found the best mix!”
Rusty Hendges, Nordic’s Regional Sales Manager for the Great Lakes Territory, is happy to have VanderZanden and Country Acres in his territory. Hendges states, “Country Acres has great growth potential!” He goes on to add, “Damon just does good, solid business! He’s a man of few words and is very unassuming but is an honest businessman.”
Country Acres has been a Nordic Dealer Partner since 2003 and VanderZanden has seen steady growth since then. He is looking forward to ending 2017 in an even stronger position than 2016. “We are seeing a lot of customers coming back from a few years ago,” he states. “They like the fact that Nordic Hot Tubs are simple, not too many bells and whistles. We love that they are constructed well, look great and are at a great price point!” On VanderZanden’s ‘To-Do’ list for 2017 is to get connected social media and a website. “I think my kids can help me with that,” he quips.
VanderZanden has this advice for other dealers, “Customer relations are so important! If you do a good job, people respect that and appreciate it.”
Country Acres can be reached through the website or by phone at 231-873-5009.
|South East Spas has created backyard oases in southeast Florida for over 40 years. Founded by Phil Giles, South East Spas is a family owned pool and spa business that has a great reputation for delivering quality products and service to its customers.
What makes South East Spas stand out from the competition? According to Steve Sharp, Sales Manager, it is that they are strategically placed in an area of need. “We also run aggressive off-site sales events,” states Sharp. “We are open 7 days a week to help our customers. Add to that, we are a full service retailer with a warehouse, delivery and service personnel. Three of our staff members have over 50 years in the industry; others have over 22 years in.”
It’s this longevity in the industry that has made the difference with South East’s customer service as well. Sharp indicates that the staff goes through extensive training to become certified pool and spa professionals. “Our more experienced employees also help mentor the younger ones,” states Sharp.
In addition to hot tubs, South East Spas offers a full line of grills, swim spas, exercise spas and saunas. “We also carry a full product line of chemicals and gadgets to go with the pools and spas,” says Sharp.
Sharp indicates that South East has seen the good times and the lean times in the industry. The economic climate has a great effect on how well their business fares. “I would have to say though, that the biggest obstacle is maintaining great customer service,” states Sharp. “Getting quality customer service people to support our customers can be tricky.” He quickly adds, “We’ve got a good group now though.”
2017 is going to be a year South East Spas continues its growth pattern. “We are looking forward to exceeding last year with both sales and profit with the products we sell,” says Sharp.
South East Spas has been a Nordic Dealer Partner since 2013. Sharp is very pleased with the way Nordic Hot Tubs complements the other product lines South East Spas offers and with the reputation they have in the field. “Nordic’s are durable, simple to operate and very reliable,” he says. “From a company standpoint, Nordic is easy to do business with.”
Sharp offers this advice to other dealers, “Don’t be afraid to grow and be aggressive. It’s always better to have the customer buy from you than from the competition.”
The South East Sales Team can be reached through the website and on Twitter. Also, follow them on Twitter! Instagram is coming soon!
|Royal Billard & Recreation, Incorporated has been located in Hatfield, Pennsylvania since 1982. Frank and Connie Gorup, founders of Royal Billiard & Recreation, had originally intended to move back to their home state of Kansas to open a billiard supply company. However, plans changed and the Gorups decided to stay in Hatfield and established the business there.
Audra DelConte, one of the Gorup’s daughters, took over the business in 2002. Her passion is to continue to grow Royal Billiard & Recreation but to keep the core values of the family owned business her parents began. DelConte continually researches to provide current, trending product lines, including a variety of gaming tables, bars, barstools, hot tubs and accessories. Under her leadership, Royal Billiard & Recreation maintains loyal vendor, customer and employee relationships.
Dave Fly, a sales person for Royal Billiard & Recreation is very proud of their reputation within the local community and in the industry. “What sets us apart from the competition is our service, both during and after the sale,” states Fly. “We make sure we understand our customers and get them into the right products.” To further ensure customer satisfaction, Royal Billard & Recreation offers a 10% lifetime discount on chemicals, covers and accessories to hot tub customers.
DelConte knows that when a customer is happy they tell their friends and family so, she began a Customer Referral Reward Program. “If a customer refers a friend, and the friend purchases a table or hot tub, we send our original customer a gift card,” states DelConte. “Plus, after each sale the sales person sends their customer a personal Thank You note to thank them for their purchase!” adds Fly. Both DelConte and Fly feel this ‘hands on’ approach to customer service keeps customers loyal to Royal Billiard & Recreation.
As an experienced and established company, Royal Billiard & Recreation has weathered the many cycles of the market. Fly states, “There are many things we have to be aware of but it always comes down to getting new customers in the door.” To get their name in front of potential customers, DelConte strategically plans advertising campaigns. “Audra is also very aware of how social media helps our business and we have a group that does that for us,” states Fly. “Even though we do a great job of public awareness,” Fly says with a laugh, “I’m still shocked to hear someone say they didn’t know we were here!”
Looking forward to 2017 Fly states, “Our main goal is to surpass last year’s sales figures.” Although 2016 was a great year for Royal Billiards & Recreation, Fly knows they can make this year even better. “As long as the state of the economy holds, we’ll do great!”
Royal Billiard & Recreation has been a Nordic Dealer Partner since 2004. Fly enjoys selling the product because of the simplicity and reliability of Nordic Hot Tubs. “We know the phone doesn’t ring after we sell a Nordic,” says Fly with a grin. “They are simple to operate and so reliable. We rarely have a service related call on a Nordic tub.” DelConte says her service tech agrees, “When it was time to replace my old hot tub, our Service Tech made sure I replaced mine with a Nordic. He wasn’t even familiar with Nordic until we introduced him to the line . . . he is so impressed! He tells us they [Nordic] are easier to work on than most and by far the most economical to fix . . . a really great value!”
Fly gives this advice to dealers, “Find new ways to get new business through the door. Audra is great about staying on the forefront of trends. She makes sure our showroom stays fresh with updated products. The customers can tell! Don’t let things start to look old and dated.”
Audra DelConte and the Royal Billiard & Recreation Sales Team can be reached through the website or find them on Facebook.
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