It was humble beginnings in 1980. Just three farmers in Dallas, Oregon, building hot tubs in a barn. Five years later, “Pacific Spas” had grown to the point it was acquired by Fox Pool Corporation. The company was rebranded “Marquis Spas” and is known today across the industry as Marquis®.
Fox Pool’s principal owner, Don Weir, could have retained ownership of Marquis. However, as Weir entered retirement in the 1990s, he arranged the sale of Marquis to its employees. Starting in 1999, under the leadership of then President Jeff Kurth, employees acquired Marquis through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The process was completed in 2001 by Kurth’s successor, Jerry Lankheet.
Following Lankheet’s retirement, John Schrenk took over leadership until his retirement in August of 2022. The company is now led by CEO Rick Gallagher, who comes from the boating industry. During his tenure as CEO of a premium brand pontoon manufacturer, Gallagher excelled at improving operational performance and developing dealer relationships based on shared commitment.
Sam Collins, a 35-year veteran of Marquis, witnessed much of the company’s evolution. “Don [Weir] made it possible for employees to have a personal stake in Marquis,” said Collins. “He deserves recognition for giving us the opportunity to share in the company’s continued success.”
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. “Historically, the spa industry fluctuates with the economy,” said Collins. “The value of our company has fluctuated over the years, and employees lived through some lean times. Especially following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and the global financial crisis in 2008.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the U.S. in early 2020, seasoned Marquis employees braced for another economic downturn. But instead, the company experienced a historic surge in consumer demand, with several years-worth of order volume compressed into a single year.
“The pandemic led to significant changes in family life, causing most categories of consumer discretionary spending to surge,” said CEO Rick Gallaher. “Families sought alternative activities where they could gather, connect, and escape from the uncertainty of the times. As a result, demand for quality products like Marquis hot tubs seemed to have no bounds.”
While the pool and spa industry has grown steadily for decades, its surging popularity in recent years has caught the attention of outside investors. Several firms approached Marquis to explore the potential for a buyout. Then, after completing a due diligence process in 2021, Monomoy Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, purchased two spa companies. Artesian Spas® in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Marquis Hot Tubs in Independence, Oregon. This marked the second time in its company history that Marquis was acquired. The buyouts of Artesian and Marquis form the basis of a new pool and spa platform, which is seeking further acquisitions in the pool industry.
According to Monomoy Operating Executive Jesse Dodge, who is part of the hands-on team working with both companies: “We love to work with high-quality businesses who want to take their success to the next level. There were a lot of hot tub and related consumer goods companies on the market in 2021. We were excited to partner with Marquis and Artesian because of their respected brands, excellent dealer networks, and passionate teams with deep industry expertise. We also saw plenty of opportunities for us to bring our resources, tools, and processes to solve challenges and create value for all stakeholders. Marquis, alongside its sister company Artesian, embodies these attributes. Working together, we have plenty of work ahead to become the best partner for our dealers, but we’re very pleased with the progress to date.”
Gallagher agreed wholeheartedly, adding: “We’re excited to leverage our combined strength to better serve Marquis’ global dealer network. For the past 2-1/2 years, the industry has been navigating demand that couldn’t be satisfied, countless supply-chain disruptions, wholesale inflation, and labor challenges. Now, as industry demand slows to more standard market conditions, we’re focusing on tailored initiatives to drive further success for Marquis, Artesian, and our dealer networks. In this market, there’s a unique opportunity to differentiate with new services, new capabilities, and new products. The teams at Marquis and Artesian have embraced continuous improvement. We will build the highest-quality, most innovative products in the industry, and are going to serve retailers with a best-in-class experience. Personally, it’s a privilege to work with teams like these. Dealers who are already part of the Marquis and Artesian family, and dealers who join our family, will see what expertise, passion, and resources—coupled with wisdom—can deliver. We’re on a quest to become the most desirable pool and spa platform in the industry. We’ve got big plans.”
Speaking of new products, Marquis added two new models to its flagship Crown Collection this year: the 7-person Crown Destiny and the 5-person Crown Wish. This completes the 7-model Crown Collection launched in early 2020, ranging from the 3-person Crown Spirit lounger, up to the 7-person Crown Summit with its unique triple Adirondack seating. The entire collection features the company’s patented Dynamic Flow Control™ valve, which allows bathers to easily blend air and water flow between gentle therapy jets and targeted, deep-tissue H.O.T.™ Zones. Also standard on Crown models is ConstantClean+™, which combines high-flow filtration with Frog® in-line and an ozonator. It turns the hot tub’s entire water volume up to 54 times in just a few hours per day.
“The Crown Collection remains incredibly popular with dealers and consumers,” said Gallagher. “In fact, we’ve expanded our production capacity to build more Crowns per day and are poised for continued growth. At a time when demand has slowed, building out additional capacity is a blessing we don’t take for granted. Without exception, our dealers have witnessed the success our Crown Collection provides.”
Marquis National Sales Director Bill Wells advises dealers to anchor their showroom with several Crown models in different sizes. “The stunning beauty of our flagship Crown Collection stops consumers in their tracks. Its innovative features are easy to sell and differentiate it from every other product on the market. Most dealers opt for the Jewel™ lighting package, which adds fully lit LED corners for extra elegance, more interior illumination, and backlighting for the Dynamic Flow Control valves. For your wet display models, I also recommend adding MicroSilk® Oxygen Skin Therapy. Marquis sells more hot tubs equipped with MicroSilk than all other hot tub brands combined. It adds value to the consumer experience, and valuable profit to your bottom line.”
In addition to hot tubs, the company offers a line of premium Aquatic Training Vessels™ swim spas, including the V150P Swim & Party Vessel. At only 12-1/2 feet long, it seats eight people with extra room for aquatic fitness and optional rowing and resistance training. The company also offers a complete line of matching Environments™ spa surrounds for its hot tubs and swim spas.
North American retailers are invited to check out Marquis’ best-selling products at the PSP/Deck Expo in Las Vegas from November 15-17, 2022 (Booth #6936). European retailers are invited to the Piscine Global Europe show in Lyon France from November 15-18, 2022 (Booth #5A62). For more information about Marquis, visit marquisspas.com.