Galloway had been thinking about opening a store and expanding into hot tubs for awhile, but in the spring of 2018 he got serious. “I pitched the idea to my team,” he says. “And they gave me that look like I had lost my mind because we were already so busy. But I’m always moving to the next thing and trying to make what we have better.”
Galloway’s journey to the pool — and now spa — industry began with installing sprinkler systems to pay for college. His customers kept asking for more and more things, “so we just kept doing more and more things for them,” he says of his expansion from sprinklers to landscaping in 1999. “I always had the philosophy that we can do it; we just had to figure it out as we went. And we always made sure we did it right.”
He taught himself how to design out of necessity. He realized that homeowners have a general idea of what they want but can rarely visualize it. He would add pools to the computer-generated designs he drew up for the customer and contract out the construction — until he realized his team could do that, too. Form Pools was born in 2013.
This fall, Galloway opened a 6,000-square-foot showroom and retail store, becoming Form Pools & Spas. The company was building gunite spas and outsourcing portable hot tub sales, but Galloway didn’t see why they couldn’t do all of it. “It’s a way for [our customers] to have another option,” he says. “A gunite hot tub is not always the most comfortable. It doesn’t have the most amenities, and they’re cost prohibitive.”
Since he was referring hot tub sales to other companies, he knew opening a showroom gave him built-in sales. Galloway and his team let the company’s established network of leads know the direction the company was moving. Many waited for the opening to buy a new hot tub so they could see and try it in person, something he says is essential to selling hot tubs.
“I wanted to create this immersive experience,” he says. “We get people in them, and they can experience the jets and the bucket seats. They can actually see the waterfalls and jets working, the lighting and everything else.”
The showroom isn’t entirely complete because Galloway chose to do the full design and build with his own team, who are finishing everything during the winter offseason for pools. The hot tub sales floor is fully functional, but he plans to add an upper mezzanine that conveys a completed backyard design so patrons can visualize an oasis — hot tub and all. The company will also add multiple bathrooms with showers and change stations for wet tests.
Galloway’s retail plan started with hiring a store manager. Right now, his team members hold a number of roles both in the field and on the showroom floor, but he hopes to have two to three dedicated salespeople soon.
Galloway says there’s certainly been an adjustment period. “We’ve always been out in the field, meeting with clients and on the move,” he says. “Now we’re waiting for people to come to us; it’s a different approach. It’s been a bit tricky to get used to, but it’s been fun as well. The [positive] feedback we’ve been getting is exactly what we want.”
New Show Room Tips
Galloway’s tips for opening a showroom include partnering with a good spa company, hiring people who believe in what you’re doing and finding a showroom location in a high-traffic area.
He also recommends resisting the temptation to overspend on your facility, taking time to find what is available in your area, what you can reasonably afford and what you can do to create the best return on investment. “Everybody uses the term ‘house poor,’ right? Well, you can be ‘business poor,’ too, by overdoing it on the building space,” he says. “I would have liked to have had a 10,000- to 20,000-square-foot building, but is that the smartest move? I can create an incredible experience by utilizing space effectively as opposed to extending myself too much.”