|“I was born in this business!” says Wendy Purser, Owner of Hampstead Pool, Spa & Patio in Hampstead, North Carolina.
“No, really! I was born in this business!” Wendy’s parents were selling package pools when she was a child so she truly was born into the business. By the early 1970’s they had opened a retail store and, later in that decade, brought in their first hot tub. “I’ve been in this business so long that my calculator broke trying to figure it out!” she quips.
Currently, Wendy and her husband, Neal Purser, own and operate Hampstead Pool, Spa & Patio which they established in 1991. Normally employing a staff of five throughout the year, they add employees during the busy pool season to accommodate increased sales and installations. Hampstead Pool, Spa & Patio is true to its name as they sell and install pools, hot tubs and carry all the products related to maintaining swimming pools and hot tubs.
The Pursers have worked to build Hampstead Pool, Spa & Patio into a quality based company by carrying high quality products and employing experienced, knowledgeable sales, installation and service staff. “Most of my employees have five or more years in the business,” says Purser proudly.
Wendy is happy with the business climate in 2017. “One of our biggest obstacles has been the economy for the past eight years,” she says. “However, this year is turning into one of the busiest we’ve ever had.” She credits the relaxation of lending and other regulations plus an increase in consumer confidence.
To boost sales, Wendy has a unique system where she posts hot tubs coming in on a white board for her customers to see. “We end up selling them before they even get here!” she says with a laugh. “I can’t even get a tub wired for the floor! If that’s a problem, then that’s the hot tub brand you want to have!”
Hampstead Pool, Spa & Patio brought the Nordic Hot Tubs line into their showroom in 1999. “This [Nordic] is the only brand that we’ve had a continuous relationship with,” states Wendy. She also quickly adds that her favorite thing about Nordic is the Customer Service Manager, Rodney Tracey. Her other favorite things about Nordic are that they are made in the USA and of high quality with very little warranty work. “Nordic tubs sell well because they have a tub model for everybody,” she says.
This November will be an exciting month for Wendy as she will be giving a class at the International Pool Spa Patio Expo in Orlando, Florida. “I’ll be teaching the class, ‘Service to Installation’, which will help service people transition to pool installers and their first excavation,” she states.
“My advice to any other dealer is to sell Nordics!” she quips and quickly adds, “But, if you are already selling Nordic, make great relationships with a number of electricians!” She found out through experience it is most helpful to have a number of good tradespeople to call on for installations. Wendy also advises to stay away from salt water tubs. “Use the ozone type systems and other sanitizers! Especially the new 2-stage Nordic Pure™, they’re wonderful!” she states.
The Pursers, Wendy and Neal, and the Hampstead Pool Sales Team can be reached through the website or find them on Facebook!
Hampstead Pool, Spa & Patio's, interior display.
A panoramic view of Hampstead Pool, Spa and Patio's interior showroom.
(click on photo for larger view)
|Do you know someone who is doing what they were born to do? Well, when you talk to Chuck Stafford, Co-Owner of Van Dorn Pools & Spas in Reisterstown, Maryland you know he’s one of those people. Chuck is enthusiastic about the pool and spa industry and speaks with pride about his staff and his company.
Stafford has been in the pool and spa industry since 1978. As he tells it, “I was 16 years old and needed a job. My father was friends with the Nields [then owners of Van Dorn Pools & Spas] and arranged that one of his 3 sons would work for them. I was the selected son!” He worked his way up from construction into sales, eventually purchasing the company from the Nields in 1998. “My brother Jay purchased half of the business and brought in a strong construction background,” says Stafford.
Van Dorn Pools & Spas sells and installs pools, both in-ground and above-ground, hot tubs and all the chemicals and supplies needed to make pool or spa ownership a breeze. During the pool building season, their staff increases to around 24 with 3 active construction crews but business stays steady throughout the rest of the year with sales, service and maintenance work.
Stafford feels his mission is to make sure his customers have the best experience when they purchase a pool or hot tub from Van Dorn Pools & Spas. “It’s something we continually strive to make even better,” says Stafford. Owning a brick and mortar business in the age of technology and social media has its challenges and keeps Stafford increasingly vigilant about the level of customer service they offer. “Having been in the business for 40 years, we see a difference between the generations,” says Stafford. “People are much more informed and particular now but, when they deal with us they know we’re the real thing. It’s all about having great customers and great employees!”
Donna Gaven, Assistant Store Manager for Van Dorn Pools & Spas at the Kingsville, Maryland location echoes Stafford’s thoughts, “What sets us apart is that we are a smaller and family owned. We have long term employees who are experienced and very knowledgeable.”
From 2006 through 2008 was a difficult time for the Staffords and Van Dorn Pools & Spas. “We’re glad we got through because many didn’t,” says Stafford. “What got us through is that we have an exclusive product mix and loyal relationships with our manufacturers.” He adds, “Customers see that history and it makes them confident to work with us!”
Both Stafford and Gaven are looking forward to growing the client base for Van Dorn Pools & Spas over the next few years. “Our goal is always to beat last year’s sales. It’s a fun game and we like to have fun!” says Gaven with a wide grin.
Gaven’s other distinction, aside from being an Assistant Store Manager for Van Dorn Pools & Spas, is she is also a Nordic Hot Tub owner! “I love my Retreat MS,” says Gaven emphatically. “Nordic’s hot tubs rarely need service! They are simple and easy! Plus, they are efficient and cost very little to operate!” Stafford agrees and is happy with his decision to bring in the Nordic line seven years ago. “They [Nordic] fit right into our product mix and allow us to bring in a broader customer mix,” he states.
What advice do they have for other dealers? “Stay true to your products! Find the product mix that works for your customers and treat them right!” says Gaven.
Chuck Stafford, Donna Gaven and the Van Dorn Sales Team can be reached through the website or, find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Van Dorn Pools & Spas located on
Main Street in Reisterstown, Maryland.
Van Dorn Pools & Spas' Kingsville, Maryland location on Belair Road.
Van Dorn Pools & Spas' Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania location on
East Forrest Ave.
|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 1988 by working on electrical systems for pools. From there he moved into the manufacturing side of the industry and was a Product Specialist for pool equipment until last year. As Mark states, “I have friends that own Pinch A Penny stores and they have done pretty well, so I figured, why not?” Pinch A Penny has a ‘family owned’ culture which appeals to Mark and Laurie.
The Barnetts took over the Ocala franchise at the beginning of 2017 and worked tirelessly to update their store, establish good business systems and put a stellar team together. 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.
Mark is very confident that his experience in both the manufacturing and installation of pools, spas and equipment 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 also 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.” Additionally, Mark 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.
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