|After serving in the Army, Keith Bathgate entered a career in industrial sales. Then, after 22 years in sales, he decided to get into some mischief! He had a few ideas about what he wanted to do in civilian life but felt he needed some expert advice. So, he did what anyone in his situation would do, he asked his 3 young grandsons for advice. The boys, then ages 7, 5 and 4, came up with a few ideas but settled on advising Poppa to sell ‘little swimming pools’.
Bathgate personally experienced the relief of hot water therapy and began pursuing his young advisors’ idea. He contacted a friend who was in the pool and spa industry and founded Aqua Spas in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 2010. Currently Aqua Spas has a staff of 4, including Bathgate, his daughter and grandsons.
What sets Aqua Spas apart is Bathgate’s unwavering commitment to do what he says he will do. “If I say I’m going to do something for a customer, I do it!” he states. Just recently he completed service calls during the severe storms that cut through the area. “We told the customers we’d be there and I wasn’t going to let a little weather get in the way!” He adds with a chuckle, "Yeah, I got wet."
When asked what the biggest obstacle for his business has been Bathgate quickly responds, “That would be cash flow!” He works hard to build and keep Aqua Spas as a debt free business. “I don’t do debt!” he states emphatically. “We're expanding and moving to a new store in early August and I’m investing in that but have to keep everything else going as well.” He concedes it is a balancing act at times but knows that his business is poised for significant growth which makes him excited for the move.
Aqua Spas has a great line of products for people with active lifestyles. In addition to hot tubs, Bathgate’s grandsons advised him to carry skateboards, long boards, cruisers and gear. Bathgate also decided to add a line of grills and Trikke™ Carving Vehicles for the adult enthusiast. He gives riding lessons for the Trikke™ “like a drill instructor,” he says with a laugh. However, when his customers finish his course they are confident on the vehicle.
It was 2013 when Bathgate decided to bring Nordic Hot Tubs into his showroom. “The Nordic Rep had called on me for years before I made the decision. I’m just cautious that way,” he explains. When he finally ‘pulled the trigger’ he realized he had made a good choice. “I really like the simplicity of the Nordic tubs!” he states. “Everyone can understand how to work them.” He feels Nordic is a great hot tub for families to enjoy as they fit within a wide range of budgets and have a simple, “not fussy”, yet thoughtful design. “Plus, Nordic is one of the most enjoyable companies to work with!” he adds.
Bathgate offers this advice for other dealers, “Enjoy the business and talk to your customers! Find out what they want!” He encourages business owners to stay involved with deliveries. “I show up with every delivery and don’t leave until the customer is sure of how it works and has all their questions answered. The last piece of advice he offers with a sly grin and then a hearty laugh, “Don’t sell in my territory!”
Bathgate and the Aqua Spas Sales Team can be contacted through the website or find them on Facebook.