|Deep in the heart of Texas, in Longview to be exact, is the Swimming Pool Super Store. Founded in 1987 by owner, Cliff Gilliland, it is one of the premier pool and hot tub stores in the area.
Gilliland began his career in the hardware and plumbing business and, after selling it, had planned to retire. However, a long-time friend contacted him and asked if he would consider selling above-ground pools with him. Gilliland accepted the offer and did well, working his way from factory rep into distribution and, eventually, into opening his retail store.
Around 2002 Gilliland decided to bring hot tubs into his Super Store location. He felt it was a great way to round out the products offered to his pool customers and appeal to a wider range of clients. “We carry everything you could possibly need for hot tubs and above-ground pools,” states Gilliland. “All the chemicals, toys and anything you need to maintain your pool or hot tub.”
According to Gilliland, the Swimming Pool Super Store is unique because they are a family owned business and carry products no one else in the area carries. “We are also great at fixing water problems,” says Gilliland. “We just run a good operation here!”
Not one to talk about problems, Gilliland does feel the internet can be an issue from time to time. However, they overcome pricepoint competition by keeping ‘fairly decent’ pricing on their products and by taking care of their customers. “We know our customers well and our customers are so loyal we feel like we’re virtually married,” he quips with a wide Texas smile.
If Gilliland would like to see anything change this year it would be the weather. “The weather here has been cool and rainy which doesn’t work well with pool building,” he states. Gilliland knows that pool building is weather dependent but his experience with hot tub sales is, “they go in spurts.”
Swimming Pool Super Store became a Nordic Dealer Partner early in 2017. “We had heard about Nordic for quite some time and we finally got together,” says Gilliland. Stephanie Victory, the Regional Sales Manager for the territory agrees, “We are so glad to have Cliff and the Swimming Pool Super Store on board with Nordic. They are very knowledgeable, have great customer service and will add a great presence for us in the area.”
Gilliland is pleased with the Nordic Hot Tub line so far. “The people that run Nordic are nice and easy to work with and they do what they say they’re going to do,” says Gilliland. “The tubs are put together well, shipped well and I’ve had no complaints so far.”
When asked what advice he would give to other dealers he chuckles and says, “Well, everyone has their own way to run a business but, if I were to give any advice it would be to make sure your customers stay happy and give them good value. Nordic satisfies that for us here with a good product at a great price point.” Thank you Cliff!
Gilliland, and The Swimming Pool Super Store's Sales Team can be found on the website of find them on Facebook.
Cliff Gilliland, Founder and Owner of
The Swimming Pool Super Store.
A panoramic view of The Swimming Pool Super Store's interior showroom.
(click on photo for larger view)
|Starting out in Sag Harbor and recently expanding to their new location in South Hampton, Harbor Hot Tubs is growing rapidly on Long Island, New York.
Owner, Ian Fyffe, has been in the industry for 39 years and is passionate about offering his customers an all-encompassing backyard experience for both mind and body. Integrating elemental features of water, fire, sound and light within a backyard environment provides a sanctuary where inner and outer wellbeing is encouraged and nourished.
According to Alexander Holt, Chief Digital Strategist and resident Happiness Engineer at Harbor Hot Tubs, their mission is to help each customer elevate their Personal Happiness Quotient, or “pHq”. To that end they offer a wide range of high-quality hot tubs, saunas, massage chairs with integrated chromotherapy and outdoor grills. Additionally, they offer essential oil therapy and meditation music to further enhance relaxation.
During the summer months, Harbor Hot Tubs hosts Food Fridays, a community event where the public is invited to enjoy free food, music and massage at the Southampton location. “We have all kinds of free food for the public to enjoy,” states Holt. “Plus, they can take advantage of free reiki massage and a meditative music experience while they’re here!”
The biggest challenge Holt can recall in this past year is opening the new location in Southampton which had its own set of stressors. “We began reaching a whole new volume of perspective customers,” states Holt. “Anyone working in the retail field knows how hard it is to create a new store front. The challenge has been introducing our integrative products to our newly defined niche audience; a group of people interested in the holistic lifestyle of being happy with high quality products.”
With an eye to the future, Harbor Hot Tubs and Holt are working to bring a whole new aspect to the customer experience. As Holt states, “We’re working on Voyeuristic Shopping, which uses digital tools to help people visualize their backyard oasis.” As Holt explains it, this will include virtual reality and augmented reality to help customers create the backyard oasis of their dreams. “Oh, and there will definitely be a very hot app for that,” adds Holt with a wide grin.
Harbor Hot Tubs has been a Nordic Dealer Partner for about 16 years with the exception of a 5 year hiatus from 2010 to 2016. “We love the S.T.A.R philosophy of Nordic,” states Holt. “Our customers also love how simple the Nordic products are to operate!” Doug Sullivan, Sales Manager for Harbor Hot Tubs, agrees, “Our customers here, in the Hamptons, love the simple design and operation of Nordic hot tubs. They are quality-made tubs loaded with value and our clients appreciate that!”
Holt offers this advice to other dealers, “Be bold! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be unique and confident in your product offering and approach.” He adds that Harbor Hot Tubs makes it their mission to offer products and services that are more holistic. “People come to us as experts. If you are confident in that, customers respond well to it.”
Sullivan, Holt and the Harbor Hot Tubs Sales Team can be contacted through the website and on Facebook and Instagram.
Harbor Hot Tubs hosts Food Fridays during the summer. Guests enjoy free food, massage and music!
Food Friday at Harbor Hot Tubs is art!
A serene Nordic Hot Tub installation by
Harbor Hot Tubs.
|“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)
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