Beachcomber Whitby

Mike Madore, owner of Beachcomber in Whitby, Ontario, is finding that a long-term strategy he implemented a few years ago is starting to pay off in a big way.

Why do you think your sales are up? // Normally we do a 25 percent to a 30 percent increase every year. Right now we are right under a 100 percent increase. We are huge right now and I think for one reason: The past three years we’ve worked really hard at customer service.  We fix tubs. Any calls that come in we answer within 24 hours; we now have an on-site staff during the weekends. We [service] all makes and models. So the word started to get around that we’re the people to deal with when it comes to service and quality.

It’s a weird snowball effect. When we started this years ago, I told everybody on the staff that we are going to be better than anybody else and we’re going to treat everybody fairly. We’re going to make sure that they are happy to pay us. I’ll receive checks, and the check will be for $1,200 and there will be a sticky note on the check that says, “Thanks for the great service, we will do business again with you soon.” These people are actually thanking me for taking their money, and that’s the way people should treat their customers. Some people forget about it, especially if they’ve been in business a long time, and you have to step back and get a breath of fresh air and say, “You know what, it’s worth it.”

It doesn’t happen overnight, don’t get me wrong. We’ve worked hard at this and I’m proud of where we are today, but it’s a lot of work. It’s one of those things where it’s on-going and the more you do, the better you do it, the bigger your business will become and it will just snowball year after

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year after year.

Are you offsetting your hot tub sales with other products? // A couple of years ago we did try to bring in fireplaces and barbecues to add as a second and third item. People looked and smirked at it because they knew we were geared as a hot tub store. So last year we decided to get rid of everything. Now we are right back down to hot tubs, hot tub chemicals and pool chemicals. And this year’s sales are huge again. People walk in and they know that we are hot tub experts.

When we were carrying barbecues, I noticed that some days, when it was busy and two or three employees were busy selling barbecues, we would see people walk out because nobody was helping them with the hot tubs. And that is where my concern came in: We weren’t servicing our primary need. For me to do that I’d have to hire more and more staff and that’s why I scaled it back. We are known now as the hot tub expert in this area. Now we are known as the customer service people.