|Nestled along the West Coast of Michigan, in one of the strategic fruit growing counties, is the town of Hart, home our Nordic Dealer Partner, Country Acres. Damon VanderZanden, purchased Country Acres from the original owner, Pat DeWitt, around 14 years ago. “I was a golf course superintendent and wanted to get into something different and little more stable” states VanderZanden. “We owned the Laundromat next door and when we heard Pat was going to retire, we decided to purchase the hot tub store!” he says with a grin.
In summer, Oceana County bustles with activity as fruit season peaks and tourists flock to the State Park Sand Dune area just west of Hart. Winters have been milder and the snowmobiling season has dwindled over the last decade. As a business owner in a seasonal area, VanderZanden knows diversifying is the key to success. In addition to the Laundromat and Country Acres, VanderZanden also runs a carpet cleaning business. “But we’re getting out of the snowmobile parts and clothing,” he adds. “It was a good run but we are moving on.”
Customer satisfaction is also very important in a smaller community. “What sets us apart is our service,” says VanderZanden. “One of the best marketing tools for us is word of mouth. We get a ton of referrals each year not just for hot tubs but pool maintenance as well. We have a very good name for ourselves.”
VanderZanden has had his challenges, especially in the Michigan economic climate. However, the biggest obstacle he feels he’s overcome is finding the right mix of employees for his businesses. Currently, Country Acres has 3 employees. “We have a great staff right now,” states VanderZanden. “Everyone is happy. I do the all the service and I have a good sales staff! We’ve found the best mix!”
Rusty Hendges, Nordic’s Regional Sales Manager for the Great Lakes Territory, is happy to have VanderZanden and Country Acres in his territory. Hendges states, “Country Acres has great growth potential!” He goes on to add, “Damon just does good, solid business! He’s a man of few words and is very unassuming but is an honest businessman.”
Country Acres has been a Nordic Dealer Partner since 2003 and VanderZanden has seen steady growth since then. He is looking forward to ending 2017 in an even stronger position than 2016. “We are seeing a lot of customers coming back from a few years ago,” he states. “They like the fact that Nordic Hot Tubs are simple, not too many bells and whistles. We love that they are constructed well, look great and are at a great price point!” On VanderZanden’s ‘To-Do’ list for 2017 is to get connected social media and a website. “I think my kids can help me with that,” he quips.
VanderZanden has this advice for other dealers, “Customer relations are so important! If you do a good job, people respect that and appreciate it.”
Country Acres can be reached through the website or by phone at 231-873-5009.