The SR Retailer Panel

Retailer Panel

In 2014, we formed an industry group that offers advice on retailer-focused topics.

We asked retailers who they sought out for business advice — and, perhaps unsurprisingly, they go to fellow hot tub retailers. So we decided to convene that brain trust right here. Each issue, we pose a different topic to a few of our panelists and print their responses. Meet the retailers who so kindly agreed to help — and let us know what topics you’d like our panel to tackle.

Scott Clark opened his first hot tub store in San Jose, California, in 1990. He eventually closed it to focus on road shows, but all the travel was hard on his young family. In 2004, he opened another store, this time in Reno, Nevada. Now, Clark has five retail stores, including the newest locations in Santa Cruz and San Jose, California. Clark was recently a guest on episode #36 of the SpaRetailer Podcast.

David Ghiz has spent a lifetime in water; his dad started Phoenix-based Paddock Pools in 1958. Ghiz and his brothers grew the family business into one of the largest pool and backyard specialty companies in America. In 2005, they sold to a private-equity firm, which began liquidating Paddock in 2012. Ghiz attempted to buy it back, but the deal fell apart, and in the process he restarted conversations with vendors like Jacuzzi/Sundance. In 2014, Ghiz opened Imagine Backyard Living, a 15,000-square-foot showroom that features hot tubs, patio furniture, outdoor kitchens, hardscapes and patio heating and cooling systems. After one year in business, Imagine Backyard Living became the No. 1 volume single-store Jacuzzi and Sundance dealer in the world, and has maintained that ranking every year except 2018.

Michael Lahay was selling copiers — and he’d had enough — when a friend started talking to him about how much fun he was having selling hot tubs. Not only was this friend enjoying what he was doing, but he wasn’t stuck in a suit like Lahay. Lahay went to work with him in 1991 in Evansville, Indiana. In 2003, a Master Spas territory opened in Lahay’s hometown of St. Louis, and he jumped on the opportunity; he’s been a Master Spa dealer ever since. Lahay has been one of the manufacturer’s top Apex dealers for six out of the last seven years.

Barta’s father, Bob Sullivan, founded 21st Century Pools & Spas in 1979. She grew up working in the store part time and came back to the store full time after studying political science and business at Arizona State University. She has more than 10 years’ experience in the pool and spa industry, working as the showroom manager, service department manager and now the operations manager for the company. In addition to its pool building, remodeling and service branch, 21st Century also has a retail store that sells hot tubs and swim spas, pool and spa chemicals and outdoor living products such as saunas and patio furniture. In the winter, the company ramps up its spa service; its spa service department is growing every year.

David Isaacs grew up in the pool and spa industry, eventually taking ownership of the family business, Isaacs Pools & Spas (founded in 1978), in 2016. Isaacs began working full time at the company in 2004 after he finished college and shared 50/50 ownership of it with his mother by 2008. In 2011, he began focusing more on the retail side of the business, eventually adding Watkins Wellness brand spas and Bullfrog Spas to his showroom. In 2018, he split up his spa business, keeping Hot Spring Spas on the floor at Isaacs Pools and Spas and opening a separate Bullfrog Spas location, Bullfrog Spas of Tri-Cities.

Interested In Joining Our Panel?

We are always looking for innovative hot tub retailers willing to share their advice and experience. There are no meetings. Our editorial team will reach out periodically throughout the year with specific questions or requested feedback. Typically, panelists will submit responses via email or a brief interview with a member of our editorial team.  

Contact Us

Contact to nominate yourself or a fellow colleague.