|The year is 1910. The Boy Scouts are founded by William Boyce. William Taft, then President of the United States, begins the tradition of throwing out the first baseball of the season. The Steepleton brothers, Clyde and Claude, establish Steepleton, a billiard and bowling supply company in Louisville, Kentucky.
Today, Steepleton is still one of the oldest billiard retailers in the United States! However, over the years they have diversified their product lines to include basketball goals, swing sets, barstools, trampolines and hot tubs. With two locations, one in Louisville and one in Lexington, the staff at Steepleton are always ready and able to help customers choose which products fit their lifestyle.
Steepleton takes pride in standing out from the crowd in the home entertainment industry. General Manager, Allison Graven states, “What sets Steepleton apart is our Service and Quality. We service all products that we sell and we only sell quality products!” Graven says they are careful about which products are brought in to sell. “It’s a very selective process” she states.
Graven and her staff also care for the customers all throughout the sales process. Customers receive personal and individual attention with sales, delivery and installation of the product they purchased. “At delivery, our installers offer the customer instruction about operation or chemicals or whatever, at the customer’s house,” says Graven. “And, if they have any other questions we tell them to give us a call or stop in.”
As a business that has been going strong for 106 years, Steepleton has weathered many economic storms. One of the most recent was the recession in 2008. However, Graven states, “It was a very good learning tool! We learned how to operate as a company much more efficiently!” When asked what measures were taken to ensure the survival of the business, she responds, “We cut back and we realized that some things we didn’t need. We figured out what was important and we operated leaner and stronger.”
Keeping a business current with trends is an important aspect of Graven’s job. This year she is working on their website. “We have partnered with a local web development company and are upgrading our website to include some e-commerce with some of our products.” Graven also keeps them current on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Steepleton has been a Nordic Dealer Partner for the last 10 years. “We brought hot tubs in when Maurizio stopped in one day!” states Graven. “Although he was with another hot tub manufacturer at the time, we developed a great working relationship and brought Nordic in when we could.”
Graven likes the dependability and simplicity of Nordic Hot Tubs. “It cannot be beat!” she states. “Customers love the turbo [whirlpool] jet. We like Nordic because it’s easy to sell and understand.”
When asked what advice she has for other dealers Graven states, “Try new things all the time! Try new types of sales, different events, things like that to get customers in the door!”
Allison Graven and the sales team at Steepleton can be reached through the website. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
|Forty-one years ago, Mukesh Shah began selling billiard and pool tables in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. Within ten years, the business grew into a distributing center and an arcade and gaming center featuring many of the classic games such as Pac-Man and Galaga. When Mukesh experienced the downturn of the arcade industry, he expanded the business into hot tubs, pool and patio furniture, playground equipment and much more. With the expansion, he changed the name to Galaxy Distributing to truly reflect the nature of the business.
In the 90’s Galaxy Distributing opened a 30k square foot showroom at 7813 East Admiral Place in Tulsa, which is where it is still located today. The business is now run by Mukesh’s son and daughter, Ronak Shah and Nimisha Patel, as well as other family members. As the company has grown the name was recently change to Galaxy Home Recreation which more aptly describes their diverse product offering. According to Cindy Rudderham, Internet Sales Manager for Galaxy Home Recreation, they currently have 30 employees and have added two additional stores, one in Oklahoma City and the second in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
When asked what sets Galaxy Home Recreation apart from the competition, Rudderham responds, “We are local and family owned. We deliver, set-up and service everything we sell.” This is no small feat as the Galaxy Home Recreation website indicates they cover the entire state of Oklahoma, Southern Kansas, Northern Texas, Western Arkansas and SW Missouri. While they have their own certified and trained service department, they are also connected to a national professional service and installation network to ensure customers, near and far, are cared for long after they purchase their product.
Being in the retail market today can be a balancing act. Rudderham agrees and states that one of the hardest things they do is to “find the best quality products at prices consumers are willing to pay.” This is one of the reasons Galaxy Home Recreation diversified into the product lines they currently carry. Customers have a wide range of choices making Galaxy Home Recreation a one-stop shopping location for home and backyard entertainment.
This year Galaxy Home Recreation will be hosting a Battle of the Brands at their Broken Arrow location. This tent sale event is attended by manufacturers' reps and is scheduled for early August. They have many activities planned with lots of savings for their customers. According to Rudderham, one of the most popular events is the grill cook-off!
Galaxy Home Recreation has been a Nordic Partner for the last 5 years. Rudderham states, “We like the Nordic Brand because it is cost-friendly and has a lifetime warranty on the shell.” As a “home-grown Oklahoman company” the fact that Nordic hot tubs are made entirely in the USA is very important to Rudderham. “It fits in,” she states.
Rudderham has some advice for dealers in the hot tub industry. She states, “Do the research on the products! Listen to your customers and give them the products they want. Also, provide them with great customer service.”
Galaxy Home Recreation and their Sales Team can be reached through the website or on Facebook.
|Being a good neighbor pays off! Travis Bramlett knows this from experience!
Bramlett and his neighbors, Paul and Clare Alfano, have a great relationship. The Alfanos owned The Hot Tub Store in Waynesville, North Carolina but were thinking of retiring and traveling. Bramlett states, “I always told Paul that if he decided to do something, I’d like to buy the store.” When the Alfanos decided to do something, Bramlett was true to his word and purchased the company in 2015.
Bramlett enjoys jumping in with both feet. Throughout the last year, he has worked very hard to increase The Hot Tub Store’s market share both through an expanded presence on social media and with more traditional advertising. “I try to think outside the box,” says Bramlett.
The Hot Tub Store currently has 5 employees who are well versed in the hot tub and outdoor furniture lines offered in their showroom. Bramlett feels his service is what sets his company apart from the rest. “We have 2 service techs that go through schooling and recertification every year,” he states. “We also add an additional 1-year warranty to every tub!” To further assist new hot tub buyers they offer Lunch & Learn seminars where the customer can learn all about tub operation, care and chemical maintenance.
Being a new business owner can also bring challenges and Bramlett has faced a few. He states, “As a new owner, the biggest obstacle is integrating my principals with the dynamics of day to day operations.” However, he is very optimistic for the future of The Hot Tub Store. “We look forward to continuing the increase of tub sales like we are doing now,” says Bramlett with a grin. “I’m talking to my Nordic Rep to add some of the Truckload Sales.” Jerry Kisgen, Regional Sales Manager for Nordic Hot Tubs responds, “Travis is very pro-active with his approach to sales and marketing. We are very pleased and excited to be working with him to plan these events at his location.”
When Bramlett purchased The Hot Tub Store, they already carried the Nordic line. He has no plans to change that. When asked why, he states, “Quick delivery, great quality and simplicity of the tubs.” He goes on to explain, “The area of Waynesville has a lot of second homes and vacation homes. They all have hot tubs and because they are only used occasionally, they need to be simple and easy to maintain.” Bramlett knows Nordic Hot Tubs shine in both aspects.
What advice does Bramlett have for other dealers? “Stick with Nordic” he quips with a smile.
We won’t argue with that!
The Hot Tub Store, Travis Bramlett and his sales team can be reached through the website. Follow them on Twitter and on Facebook.
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