|What does it take to be a premier pool and spa builder? Well, if you ask Dustin Lockwood, co-owner of Bontrager Pools in Elkhart, Indiana it is a broad range of experience, attention to detail and great customer service. “We build gunite and vinyl pools, in-ground, above-ground, hot tubs and spas. We have a large service and parts department and we like to take care of any problems our customers have quickly.” They also carry a full line of chemicals and pool and spa accessories for their customers.
Founded by Glenn Bontrager in 1977, Bontrager Pools became known in the Michiana area for quality built, high-end pools. In 1979 they added hot tubs to their product mix as they felt it was a natural extension of the backyard pool experience. Expanding into the South Bend, Indiana area in 1982 brought some growing pains but also helped them to be more responsive to customers to the west, toward Chicago and Lake Michigan. Having a quality staff is very important to Lockwood. During the winter, he trims his staff to 25 winter employees. “But we double that number in the summer when pool season is in full swing!” he quickly adds.
In 2004, Lockwood and Don Bontrager purchased the company from Don’s uncle, Glenn Bontrager. To add a degree of difficulty, they also committed to opening 2 new store locations the same year! “While Don came from the construction side, I came from the service and purchasing side. I knew a little about retail but not a lot about running the entire business,” states Lockwood with a grin. “Don and I are 50/50 partners in this venture and we work great together!” It is this solid teamwork that gives Bontrager Pools a firm business foundation allowing for growth.
Lockwood is very optimistic about 2017. “We’re looking at good growth this year,” he says. “We have more work than help at the moment so; we need to get more good employees in place!” Having more work than he can handle is a problem that Lockwood is happy to have. In 2008, during the recession, he and Don had to scale back considerably so the company could survive. “We scaled back on everything,” states Lockwood. “There was still work out there, we kept it going and we made it through.”
In 2015, Lockwood brought Nordic Hot Tubs into his product mix and has been very satisfied with his decision. “Nordic has a good product at a great price,” he states. “They keep the product simple and practical. It’s how hot tubs were originally meant to be!”
Having grown up in building pools and spas, Lockwood gives this advice for other dealers, “Work hard. Pay your bills. Know your products. But, most importantly, treat your customers and your employees as you would want to be treated…with respect!”
Dustin Lockwood, Don Bontrager and the Bontrager Pools’ Sales Team can be reached through the website. They can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
A view of the Bontrager Pools interior showroom in Elkhart, Indiana.
A lovely Nordic display in the showroom at Bontrager Pools.
The Bontrager Team is ready to help you into that new hot tub or pool today!