Ed Bell’s job as the sales manager at a Harley dealership sounds like fun, but he was going a little stir-crazy, “I’m an outdoorsy type,” he explains. So he started a pool-cleaning business on his days off, and within a few months, quit his job selling motorcycles and started working on pools full time. Eventually he opened a pool store, but got rid of it when he decided to branch out into hot tubs. Now Adventure Hot Tubs & Pools builds pools, performs weekly pool maintenance, repairs and upgrades pool equipment, and sells and services hot tubs.
It didn’t take long for Bell to rope his wife, Margaret, into the business as well.
“He was doing some paperwork one day, and I was working on my own business and papers were going in every which direction,” Margaret says. So she offered to help with the paperwork. “And, oh boy, that’s what got me started. I kind of feel like a fish on a hook; it keeps reeling me in. Now that I’m working with homeowners, especially with the hot tubs, but with the pools too — that’s rewarding. So I’m hooked.”
Ed and Margaret make it a priority to educate their customers about the benefits of hot tubs and how simple they can be to maintain.
“We want to make sure they love their hot tub because you hear so many people bad-mouthing hot tubs,” Ed says. “We’re trying to turn that thinking around, at least in our area. So they’re telling their friends how great their hot tub is and how easy it is.”
Margaret adds that they focus a lot on the health benefits of using a hot tub as well. In the store, she says, they use the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s booklet Hot Water and Healthy Living with customers, as well as when talking about the business and hot tubbing in their community.
Margaret says that despite their attempts at all kinds of advertising, the company’s website is what consistently brings customers through the door.
“Eighty percent of the people who come here have already been to our website,” she says. “We get a lot of support from the manufacturers — their website leads people to us. That’s very helpful; we’re grateful for that. The shoppers are savvy and they’re very educated, and they’re doing their research before they start going around to look at the different products.”
After a couple challenging years due to the economy, the couple is excited to see things pick up. It took commitment to weather the storm, but with the help of great employees they are ready for better years.
“Fortunately when one thing was not working, something else was going on,” Margaret says. She attributes some of their staying power to their diverse line of products and services. But for them, it really all comes back to the education of their customers — and themselves.
“I’m always going to classes,” Ed says, “or if the industry is doing something nearby offering new information on a new product, I’m always there.”