|Stationed in the Pacific Northwest as a member of the Coast Guard during the 1970’s, Rick Liskow realized he needed to set a plan for his future. He began selling waterbeds during his off-duty hours, eventually opening a storefront.
Upon his discharge in 1979, he moved back to his hometown of Rochester, Minnesota, establishing his waterbed and mattress business there. Liskow gradually added auxiliary product lines to his store, maturing the business into a specialty sleep store with traditional mattresses, furniture and other sleep accessories.
Around 1985, Liskow spotted an industry trend of adding hot tubs to the sleep store product mix. He brought in his first hot tub to see if it would work in the Rochester market. Hot tubs quickly became an entire department of his mattress store and eventually needed expanded floor space. Adding more store locations in Mankato, Lakeville and his brand new Superstore in Woodbury/Lake Elmo has allowed him to differentiate the locations between mattresses, hot tubs and even specific manufacturers.
The new Woodbury/Lake Elmo site is a ‘test’ store with 2 distinct stores within one business. Based on how this location performs, he will consider incorporating this approach into his other stores. Spa Retailer, a hot tub industry magazine, recently showcased the new store in their October, 2016 issue. Click here to read the article.
Currently Minnesota Hot Tubs has 6 locations, 4 of which sell hot tubs. Liskow feels his business stands out from the competition due to being in the industry for almost 40 years. Over the years he has seen many competitors come and go but Minnesota Hot Tubs weathered the economic cycles and is known as a stable and reliable business within the greater Rochester area.
Liskow enjoys what he does. He relates that while some of the most challenging times have been weathering harsh economic climates he finds personnel management more puzzling. “I can figure out the business stuff but I’m still learning to manage chaos and drama within the regiments,” he quips. Liskow manages the chaos with an entrepreneurial vision, quiet demeanor and a wicked sense of humor.
“2017 is going to be an interesting year,” states Liskow. “I think we’re heading back to the type of growth we experienced in 2006.” He bases this statement on the sales trends and solid growth he has observed within the last few years.
Liskow is very excited to have Nordic Hot Tubs in the showroom again. “It’s a great marriage of quality Nordic products and Minnesota Hot Tubs’ longevity in the industry,” he states. He knows Nordic Hot Tubs has the consistency of quality, durability and long product life that he demands from his vendors. “And, we love your truck drivers! Those guys are great!” Liskow adds with a laugh.
When asked if he has advice for other dealers, Liskow quips, “Set your dealerships up in a warmer climate! This morning was cold…12 below when I came to work!” He quickly adds, “Seriously, though, if you are going to grow, the hardest thing to do is get your people to give customers the appreciation and respect you did when you were a smaller business. Growth is good, but if you get too big your business can become less flexible. Stay flexible!”
Contact Liskow and the Minnesota Hot Tubs Sales Team through the website or find them on Facebook!