Kinney Pools

Posted in Dealer Spotlight

The idea to start his own pool business came to Ed Kinney in 1972 while he was working for another pool builder.  He finalized his decision, quit his job and started Kinney Pools.

 Ed tells the story how, on the first day of Kinney Pools, his wife made a sign to put on his car to help advertise.  Ed drove to the neighborhood 7/11 for coffee and before he got back home he already had a week of pool work scheduled. 

Kinney worked out of his garage at first but then rented a building as the business began to grow.  In 1976 he built a new building at 2155 Route 88 East in Brick, New Jersey.  With business still growing, he expanded on the site in the 1980’s. Today, Kinney employs up to 25 people in peak pool season.

Although Kinney began with pools, he expanded to include hot tubs along with the in-ground and above-ground pools, supplies and chemicals.  For a while he also sold outdoor furniture but made the decision to specialize in just pools and hot tubs.

When asked what sets Kinney Pools apart from the competition, Amber LiPira, General Manager replies, “We are family owned and operated.  We have a huge brick and mortar store with a well-educated staff.”  Melanie Durham, Assistant General Manager, concurs, “It’s about a 4,000 square foot building, with an 18 by 36 foot in-ground pool and 2 above-ground pools set up outside with a complete service area.” LiPira adds, “After so many years [in business] it’s hard to come across something we are unfamiliar with!”

As with most brick and mortar stores, Kinney Pools is beginning to see an increase in competition from internet pricing. When asked how they overcome this obstacle, Durham states quickly, “With Service!”  She goes on to explain, “We back everything we do.  If our customers have an issue with something we are right there the next day.  We’re here to stay!”

Both LiPira and Durham are excited about 2016. They are already full-swing into the pool season and they know it’s going to go up from here. They are both looking forward to an increase in sales and building up the in-ground and hot tub departments.  “We just want to keep our customers happy!  That’s the most important thing!” adds Durham.

Kinney joined the Nordic Family in 1996 and feel the Nordic line is a great fit for the store and their customers.  LiPira states, “[Nordic tubs] are a simple yet functional hot tub.  The limited number of complaints and servicing required make this a perfect fit for us.  They are resilient tubs!”  Durham agrees and adds, “We also appreciate the exclusivity Nordic gives its dealers.”

If Durham could give advice to other dealers she states, “It’s all about Customer Service! We have a fantastic team that gives great customer service.  Ed treats us like family and that makes us want to do our best for him and our customers.”

Contact Kinney Pools through the website or find them on Facebook!

      Kinney Logo Kinney Pools People 2Left to Right: Ed Kinney, Founder and Owner;
Amber LiPira, General Manager;
Melanie Durham, Asst. General Manager.

Kinney StorefrontKinney Pools located at 2155 Route 88 East in Brick, New Jersey.

Store IIThe Showroom at Kinney Pools.

storePool Accessories Wall Display
at Kinney Pools!


Pool Works, Inc.

Posted in Dealer Spotlight

Just south of Green Bay, deep inside Packers' Territory, is the suburb of DePere, Wisconsin.  It was here, 29 years ago that David and Connie Kubiak made the decision to open Pool Works, Inc.  David had worked for his family’s pool business but he and Connie knew the time was right to strike out on their own.  Pool Works grew from small beginnings to currently employing anywhere from 20 to 40 employees in season. 

Pool Works, Inc. offers full sales and service for retail and construction of pools and spas. “We are able to better serve our customers because we service our own products.  We always go the extra mile” states Timm Seehafer, Retail Manager. 

Seehafer has been with Pool Works for approximately 7 years and makes sure his sales team and his customers stay on top of the current trends in the business.  “We hold Pool Schools for our customers, our techs are trained and certified and we attend shows to see what’s out there.  We are all about keeping up with change!” states Seehafer.

Seehafer knows his customers depend on the personal, face-to-face, high-quality service his staff gives.  This helps overcome competition from internet sales sites. “Internet competition is a big thing these days,” he states.  “but Pool Works doesn’t really do a lot of advertising.”  They do keep a presence on the internet with an interactive website and a Facebook page.  “We also have a huge LED sign up along I-41 which pulls in a lot of traffic.”  Their sales are typically generated through referrals or repeat business and , as Seehafer says, "the quality installations Pool Works does are the best advertisments."

Typical Pool Works, Inc. customers are long-term and repeat customers.  Seehafer states, “Some of our long-time customers don’t say ‘which one am I getting’, they say ‘which one am I getting from Pool Works?’ Seriously!”

A concern he faces is overcoming the poorer quality work from some smaller fly-by-night construction companies.  “Pool Works takes great pride in the high quality products we deliver.  We sell based on the quality products we carry. It’s not always about the lowest price!”

Within the last year, Pool Works has invested in a remodel and expansion of their existing building at 765 Lawrence Drive.  “This has all of us beyond excited!” says Seehafer.  One of the beautiful features of the ‘new’ showroom is the poured epoxy resin ‘river path’ that winds through the displays.  During the slower days of last winter, Seehafer and the Pool Works crew learned how to mix and pour the epoxy floor. “We are very happy with how it turned out!” he states.

Pool Works is a newer Nordic Partner, having just added the line in early 2016. However, Seehafer is happy they made the decision to go with Nordic Hot Tubs. “The dealer support is amazing!” he states.  He also feels that the value is “huge” based on the features, build quality and attention to detail that goes into Nordic Hot Tubs.

If Seehafer could give advice to other dealers he states, “Evolve! Change! Do not be afraid to change and know that what worked 10 years ago will not work today!”  

Pool Works, Inc. and Timm Seehafer can be contacted through the  website.  You can also find them on Facebook!

      PoolWorksLogo Pool Works StorefrontPool Works, Inc. located at
765 Lawrence Dr, DePere, WI.

PoolWorks ShowroomRiverSMThe beautifully renovated showroom.

APoolWorksShowroomRiver2SM The interior of Pool Works, Inc.

PoolWorksShowroomPoolSMA Nordic Hot Tub displayed next to the showroom pool in Pool Works.


Soo Fireplace and Stone

Posted in Dealer Spotlight

Nestled along the St. Mary’s River and 3 blocks south of the world-famous Soo Locks in Sault Ste Marie (pronounced: Soo Saint Marie) Michigan, Soo Fireplace and Stone has been going strong for over 30 years.  Opened in 1981 by Don Earl, Sr. Soo Fireplace and Stone builds and installs HVAC systems, hot tubs and everything to do with hearth products.  Earl, Sr. founded the business on the ethic of keeping the customers satisfied, happy and comfortable.  Don Earl, Jr. makes sure that the guiding principles his father founded the business on are still in practice today.

Bill Smart, Sales Manager for Soo Fireplace and Stone, states, “The thing that sets Soo Fireplace apart is high service…good quality service.”  Smart knows that, as is the case with so many smaller family-owned businesses, they have to stay ahead of the competition in order to retain customers and attract new, loyal long tern customers.  “The family ethic shows in our work,” states Smart. “We have around 14 full time employees who are long term and well- trained.”

That’s not to say there haven’t been obstacles for Soo Fireplace and Earl, Jr.  Smart indicated the recession of 2008 hit them quite hard.  “But, we were careful during that time,” says Smart. “We didn’t have to lay anyone off and we didn’t take out any loans.”

Smart is looking forward to a great 2016 for Soo Fireplace and Stone.  “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing,” states Smart. “We’re getting more efficient and organized with more storage.” Smart adds with a chuckle, “We’re always looking forward to making more money!”

Soo Fireplace and Stone joined the Nordic family about 3 years ago.  It was a good decision according to Smart. “We like the fact that their made in Grand Rapids. We’ve been to the factory and it’s clean.”  They know the tubs will be shipped and arrived in good condition. “We also like that they offer additional Nordic Wrap insulation” states Smart. “I also like the longevity of the shell, the fact that there are minimum service calls and that the Nordic brand is affordable and easy to sell.”

To make and keep good customers over time, Smart advises other dealer to be honest. “The customer must know what they are getting. If you don’t know something, find it out!”

Don Earl, Jr. along with Bill Smart and the Soo Fireplace Sales Team will be hosting a Nordic Truckload Sale this coming Thursday, May 19 through Saturday, May 21, 2016.  Joining them will be Rusty Hendges, Nordic’s Regional Sales Manager for the Upper Great Lakes Region.  Join them from 8 am through 5 pm for some of the best deals on Nordic Hot Tubs!

Soo Fireplace and Stone can be reached through the website  or find them on Facebook!  
      Soo Fireplace Logo Soo Fireplace staffThe Soo Fireplace and Stone Team.