|Paul Habeck, owner and founder of North Eastern Pools, has been in the pool and spa industry since he was 18 years old. Right out of high school he dove into pool building and has never looked back.
According to Craig Friedman, Sales Associate at North Eastern Pools, the early days of the company were spent as a contract building company installing above ground and in-ground pools. In the mid-1990’s hot tubs were brought in as a complement to the pools. While the scope of what North Eastern Pools builds is fairly great, they choose to remain focused on pools, both standard and custom, hot tubs, chemicals and accessories. Friedman says this allows them to do what they do best.
Because North Eastern Pools began as a construction company and grew into retail, Friedman feels this gives them an advantage. “We don’t do a lot of subcontracting,” states Friedman. “We are a 1-stop shop.” When customers come in to buy from North Eastern they know they will be dealing with the same company from beginning to end.
To give customers an up close look at their products, the North Eastern showroom has 30 hot tubs on display along with 1 above-ground pool and 3 in-ground pools. “Out back we even have a pool park so the customers can see how things will look in their yard!” states Friedman.
The recession of 2008/9 was quite a challenge for North Eastern Pools according to Friedman. “We were building around 120 to 140 pools per year and in 2009 we dropped to 65 just like that” he states. However, North Eastern stayed the course and recovered very well to where they currently have around 50 employees. “We know the business fluctuates. In 2010 we bounced back to build 96 pools and now, 2016, has been our busiest year ever!” Friedman says they are looking forward to continuing their growth trend well into next year as he quips, “Who knows, maybe we’ll break another business record!”
North Eastern Pools has been a Nordic Partner since around 2003. Friedman cites the reliability of Nordic Hot Tubs as one of the key reasons they decided to carry the Nordic line. “They [Nordic] have a solid service track record” he states. “They just work!” Along with the reliability, Friedman is also very pleased with the price point. “Nordic tubs really hit a certain section of our market!”
As one hot tub dealer to another, Friedman offers this advice, “I feel the most important thing is to be able to keep a wide variety of spas on display; dry as well as a couple of running models. Customers need to see how the products work.”
Join North Eastern Pools this coming Friday, September 23 through Sunday, September 25 as they host a Nordic Truckload Sale Event!
For more information, the North Eastern Pools’ Sales Team can be contacted through the website and on Facebook.
|There are people who know exactly what they want to do early in life; Brian Van Horn, owner and General Manager of Sensational Spas in Stevensville, Michigan is one of those people. When he was in high school his summers were spent working for a local pool company. He enjoyed the work and in 1989, right after his high school graduation, he opened his own business.
When he began Sensational Spas, Van Horn sold and serviced both pools and hot tubs but felt that the hot tub industry was going to grow dramatically. He continued to carry pools until the late 1990’s when he made the decision to focus solely on hot tubs. This decision has enabled Sensational Spas to develop a core expertise in the industry, allowing Van Horn to successfully open three locations in the Stevensville area.
Sensational Spas’ main location is at 5595 Red Arrow Highway where they have hot tubs displayed in both an interior showroom and an exterior lot with a gazebo. The second location is on Lawrence Avenue, also in Stevensville, where they keep a small office, hold training events for service team members and sell refurbished hot tubs. Van Horn anticipates opening the third location in downtown Stevensville in early October which will be an appointment only showroom.
Focusing on service after the sale is what Van Horn believes sets Sensational Spas apart from the competition. “Of course we like to do sales numbers, but it is not our driving force,” states Van Horn. “We have over 200 accounts that we do weekly maintenance for their hot tubs.” This is where he knows they develop and maintain those key customer relationships. “We don’t want all the business,” quips Van Horn. “We just want the good business!”
Being in business for 27 years has had its challenges. “Hiring and retaining the right team members can be a challenge,” states Van Horn. However, with the 9 employees he now has, he is very confident that Sensational Spas is well equipped to handle whatever 2017 is going to bring.
One other challenge Van Horn notes is the recession of 2007/2008. “We saw the landscape changing in the fall of ’07 so we focused on the financial aspect of our business,” says Van Horn. He credits great relationships with his suppliers and banking institutions for making the difference on how well they survived the recession. “Relationships are the key,” states Van Horn.
2016 has already been a great year for Sensational Spas. Van Horn likes to keep the growth rate of the business between 5 and 8% and he is very happy with their growth rate this year. “We don’t like those big growth swings,” states Van Horn. “That gets you into a yo-yo pattern. We would rather see slow, steady and consistent growth.”
Van Horn is also looking forward to attending the IPSP Show this November in NOLA. “We may go to the Atlantic City show but, we’ll see,” he says. He also stated that he would be stopping in at the Nordic Hot Tubs booth, #935!
When asked what he likes most about Nordic, Van Horn is quick to respond, “The people! We’ve built a fond relationship with Nordic and people are the main part of that relationship.” He also states, “Nordic builds a great product. The quality is legendary! That makes it easy on us because of its reliability and it [Nordic] has a great story to tell.”
Van Horn has advice for other dealers. “If you don’t build solid relationships with your vendors, you are missing a key part of your business. When things are good, they are good for everyone. However, when things get tough, those relationships are critical to your survival!”
Brian Van Horn and the Sensational Spas Sales Team can be contacted through the website or on Facebook.
|When you are good at what you do but a car accident throws you a curveball, what do you do? Well, for Adam Burke, it was his start into the hot tub industry.
Twenty-three years ago, Burke was looking for a hot tub to help provide relief from injuries he received in a car accident. “I saw some really bad hot tub sales presentations,” says Burke. It got him thinking that he could do that, and do it better. And so, Atlanta Spa & Leisure was born.
Burke and his wife Kim met indirectly through the business as she worked for his chemical distributor. “I ordered supplies from her over the phone for about a year then I heard she was really, really ridiculously good looking so I pursued her relentlessly until she agreed to marry me,” quips Burke. I guess you could say the rest is history!
Atlanta Spa & Leisure began in Doraville, Georgia and in 2009 they expanded into the Cumming store but not by choice. Burke again made a great outcome from an adverse situation as he relates, “We had to expand as a defensive move. We owned the building and lost the tenant so we needed to fill the space. It was the exact opposite of awesome.” But, as he now admits, it was a good move for him and the business.
The business philosophy that Burke has for Atlanta Spa & Leisure is to treat the customer the way you want to be treated. He feels that when you do the right thing, your customers come back. “Half of our business is repeat customers and referrals, so after 23 years, it seems to work well” he states.
One of the things that Burke finds most challenging is creating systems that work and make things run smoothly. “Just because you are a good salesman doesn’t always make you a great manager” says Burke. “You have to have better systems.”
These last few years have been good for Atlanta Spa & Leisure. However, one of the things that Burke is looking forward to this year is for the election to be over. “Don’t get me going on that” he chuckles. His outlook is that 2017 is going to be ‘awesome’ regardless of what happens in the election.
Burke is very pleased with Nordic Hot Tubs. He brought the Nordic line back into his showroom about 3 years ago. He has high praise for Nordic when he states, “They [the hot tubs] don’t break! I like their simplicity and that they are a good, solid product made by good, solid Mid-Western folks!”
What advice does Burke have for other dealers? “Realize that before your business can improve, you have to improve” states Burke. He takes his own advice as he is currently re-reading the book, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.
One more piece of advice Burke gives is “Never give up!”
Adam and Kim Burke and the Sales Team at Atlanta Spa & Leisure can be reached through the website and on Facebook.
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