|Viscount Pools, with locations in Madison Heights and Imlay City, Michigan is celebrating their 50th Anniversary!
Bob Zacharski, owner of Viscount Pools East, tells the story of how he got started in the pool and spa industry. “It was 1973 and I was in my second year of college. My brother was working in the pool industry and they needed another above ground pool installer. So, naturally he called me and I’ve been here ever since!”
Viscount Pools displays over 40 hot tubs and numerous pools between the two stores. The 20k sq. ft. Madison Heights location is evenly divided between showroom and warehouse space while the 14k sq. ft. Imlay City store is completely showroom. “Having a well-stocked warehouse allows us to be fully responsive to customers’ needs and delivery timeframes.” states Zacharski.
Thirty five years ago, Viscount sold its first hot tub and Zacharski remembers it clearly. “It was a round tub with 4 jets and a ¾ horsepower pump,” he laughs. “It sure was an exciting time back then because it was fun!”
Since that time the hot tub industry has grown exponentially and Zacharski is happy to have been a part of it. “I’ve seen it all and done it all in this industry,” he claims. “We even built our own hot tubs out of 4 Quonset huts in South Lyon, Michigan for a while.” The time he spent in manufacturing taught Zacharski a number of life lessons as he states, “I learned how to first of all be a human being, then a retailer and a businessman.”
The thing Zacharski feels gives Viscount Pools an edge over the competition is experience. He states, “We have over 100 years’ experience between us and we are experts in our field!” The operating philosophy under which he runs Viscount Pools is a combination of four aspects of retailing. “First, is know the product! Keep a good stock of replacement parts, solve problems and get referrals.” Zacharski states emphatically, “Without the referral aspect, we’d be a whole lot less than what we are now!”
Zacharski feels the biggest obstacle Viscount Pools faces is due to industry issues, both external and internal. He believes the current largest issue for any brick and mortar retailer is the internet. “Internet shoppers can purchase without ever talking to a salesperson. This creates a completely different retail climate in which it’s harder to build the trust relationship with customers,” he states.
The second obstacle Zacharski sees is within the pool and spa industry itself. “We have never hit the pinnacle of professionalism as an industry,” he says with disappointment. “And we’ve not made hot tubs affordable for all Americans. We have the resources to do that but the industry, as a whole, went the other way!”
However, he is very optimistic for 2017 as he states, “The Michigan economy is on fire!” Because of the current strength in the retail sector, he knows his hot tub sales will stay strong and he is counting on good weather to keep his pool installations on track.
Viscount Pools added Nordic Hot Tubs to its showroom due to Zacharski’s friendship with Nordic’s owner, Maurizio Vozza. “Maurizio is my best friend in the industry, “states Zacharski. “His leadership has fostered an environment where you [Nordic] produce a great product, have great service and all at a great pricing level.” Zacharski says he is confident that when he gets answers from Nordic, the answers are honest. “Your company and products make our job 1000% easier,” Zacharski says with a laugh. “Nordic is just comfortable to work with.”
Zacharski offers this advice for other dealers when he states, “Everything about life is about relationship. Take care to build the relationships!”
Bob Zacharski and the Viscount Sales Team can be reached through the website or find them on Facebook.
A view of Viscount Pools showroom in
Madison Hts, Michigan.
Viscount Pools located at
1843 Cedar St, Imlay City, Michigan.
A view of Viscount Pools showroom
in Imlay City, Michigan.