Don Smith’s business was missing one crucial element — parking
Photography by Dan Sedran
In June 2015, Don Smith signed the paperwork to commit to a new location for his company, Backyard Pool & Spa, in Aurora, Ontario. It wasn’t the first time Smith had moved, and this time around he knew exactly what he was looking for in a new space.
The company had been housed in a strip plaza, sharing the parking lot with other businesses during the week, only having about three to five parking spots available to them. On the weekends when the other businesses would close, they had the parking lot to themselves, unless there was a nearby activity like a soccer tournament.
Smith had been on the lookout for the right opportunity, and he found it: a standalone building with 16 parking spots and an extra 5,000 square feet of space. “And it’s less money for the first six out of the 10 years that we’re here,” Smith says. “It was a very good move.”
The new building hadn’t been occupied since the owner wasn’t keen to cut it up into multiple units, so Smith had 13,000 square feet to tailor to his needs. Once the building was ready, Smith waited until December to start moving everything over.
“We opened the store February 4 , so it was seamless,” Smith says. “There’s just no way in this business, how busy it is in April, May, June, to do that move in April or May. It would not have been healthy. We were fortunate enough to tell our existing customer base we were moving and when we were moving.”
The new space gives Smith the opportunity to grow and expand product lines. “It’s almost like a store within a store with a big BBQ section, and we got into designer outdoor furniture a bit as well to complement our pool and spa lines,” Smith says. “If you look at what building we’re in now versus what we were in, there’s just no comparison.”