Celebrating the Unsung Heroes of the Hot Tub Industry

Jacuzzi Group shines a light on its dedicated dealer network


It’s only when the pressure is on that we find out what we’re really made of.

This past year and a half, we discovered that our dedicated Jacuzzi Group dealers are made of exceptionally strong stuff. In the incredible heat and massive pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic, these impressive men and women have emerged as diamonds.

The Growth of Wellness at Home

While hot tubs were hot before 2020, the pandemic brought demand to new levels. Many of us started to take stock of what really mattered, most notably taking care of ourselves and those we love. Since we could hardly leave our homes, we needed to boost our well-being within (and around) our own four walls. So we invested in products and services to turn our home into a place of healing, and we focused on the outdoors as a necessary extension of our living space.

We rediscovered the healing power of nature, planting gardens and creating a place of calm in our backyards. We moved family meals to our decks and patios, making barbecues and picnics the new kitchen table. We sat together under pergolas and pavilions, and talked in the glow of fire pits and outdoor fireplaces. Soaks in the spa shifted from enjoyable to essential: a way to relax, relieve stress and reconnect with those who matter most.

At AquaVision Pool & Spa, a Sundance® Spa dealer, company president Michael Shaw changed his sales messaging to reflect just that: “I started being more selective with my advertising and gearing it toward family memories or hydrotherapy to paint a picture of family time and wellness in people’s heads versus just saying ‘Buy a hot tub!’ ”

The pandemic taught us that we could no longer put our well-being on the backburner. Collectively, we realized an investment in our home life is an investment in our quality of life, and such investments can pay dividends for years to come.

The Movement Toward Innovative Sourcing

At Jacuzzi Group, this realization is not new. As the premier manufacturer of premium products for the home and outdoor space in more than 75 countries, we’ve been staunch advocates of personal wellness for more than 60 years. With a portfolio that includes the Jacuzzi® Brand, Sundance® Spas, Dimension One Spas®, ThermoSpas®, Hydropool®, Dream Maker® Spas and Sunrise Spas™, we boast the most recognized and well-respected brands in the industry. Our passion to enhance the lives of our customers through the ideal experience has never wavered.

But this last year and a half has put us to the test, with unprecedented supply issues and unrelenting consumer demand. Pandemic supply chain disruptions have caused shortages across many industries, including ours. Therefore, our engineering, sourcing and supply chain teams have set out to conquer such challenges. By creatively partnering with companies around the world to supply the materials needed to build our world-class spas, we are better poised than ever to meet consumer demand.

Creative Solutions to Global Challenges

But the real heroes of this story are our many dedicated dealers. They have been on the front lines of the supply crisis, exhibiting uncommon grace under pressure and quickly adapting in the face of unpredictable circumstances.

Here are five ways we’ve seen Jacuzzi Group dealers rise to industry-wide challenges and inspire us all.

1. Revamping Showrooms

Many dealers have taken their decades of knowledge of product preferences and pre-ordered the most popular models, features and color combinations to keep a steady flow of inventory coming to their showroom. Even so, much of those stock and showroom models had been purchased during the pandemic. And so, in light of low inventory, our dealers got creative.

Some, like Simply Home and Leisure, a family-owned company in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, have taken empty space as an opportunity to showcase complementary products and to update the inspirational imagery, merchandising and fixtures within their showrooms.

“We branded our company as a one-stop staycation destination supercenter,” explains Jenn Gellner, the company’s outdoor leisure specialist. “Pairing quality exercise equipment with hot tubs from the Jacuzzi® Brand, outdoor furniture, grills and smokers, gazebos and a full landscaping division has given us a great reputation and advantage over our competitors.”

2. Strengthening their Digital Presence

Pre-pandemic, many consumers did their hot tub shopping and purchasing in the store. But 2020 shutdowns and social distancing orders made in-person shopping nearly impossible. So dealers turned to the digital space to creatively accommodate changes in shopping behavior as consumers brought more of their business online.

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Dealers revamped their websites to reflect the most current product lines and service offerings and had to shift their event selling to the virtual space.

Ronak Shah, president and CEO of Galaxy Home Recreation, noted the importance of shifting to a digital business model to supplement sales at his company’s five showroom locations across Oklahoma and Arkansas.

“The pandemic has changed the way people shop in terms of needing transparent information in real time, quickly. That is what we’re catering to — providing blogs and product demos to educate, answering people’s questions, and trying to build that into the pipeline to make it transparent and disperse it,” Shah says. “We think this is the key to modern business.”

The pandemic has changed the way people shop in terms of needings transparent information in real time, quickly. This is what we’re catering to…We think this is the key to modern business.

Ronak Shah, Galaxy Home Recreation

Indeed, it’s been key to boosting business and profits. After fully adapting its website to enable the online hot tub purchasing process, C.C. Steepleton Co.’s Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, locations began seeing sales increase via their online platform. It also granted valuable access to potential buyers even if they did not initially complete their purchase, explains Gunnar Graven, vice president.

“If a customer browses the site, adds a unit to their cart, and decides not to purchase the spa, there is still a record of them in the system that becomes a lead I can pass onto one of our salespersons,” he explains.

Gunnar Graven of Steepleton’s and Brian Johnston of Atlanta Home Center

3. Adapting to the New Normal

One mark of a good business is its ability to adapt to the changing needs of the consumer and pivot its strategies accordingly. Jacuzzi Group dealers have displayed that kind of flexibility, moving away from business as usual to fully embrace a new business model in a time of crisis. They did whatever was necessary to successfully steer their businesses to safety amid the raging storm.

Some even divided their showrooms in half, like Phoebe Briley, president of Jacuzzi Hot Tubs of the Triangle.

“It was a way for customers to be invited in on one side to touch and test the tubs while we stay on the other side to give them space,” she explains. “It was a pleasant surprise at how much people appreciated that gesture.”

It was so well received, Briley adds, that they are continuing to keep business as appointment-only: “Customers love that focused attention, and it makes them feel special while making such a big purchase.”

Jeff Brooks of AquaQuip and Roy Farmer of Allstate Home Leisure

4. Anticipating Consumer Needs

By necessity, hot tub dealers have become extraordinarily proactive in the face of low inventory. They have kept in close contact with Jacuzzi Group dealer support teams to ensure they have the latest information and timelines consumers are seeking. They have paid close attention to sales trends on top spas so they can order the most sought-after models and anticipate consumer demand.

They have also stepped up their staffing and internal processes. “We have hired more people, and have constantly tried to improve the way a customer contacts us,” Shaw explains. He notes that AquaVision Pool & Spa has moved to automated systems to reassure each customer will receive a response within a timely manner. “We also modified our hours, we take appointments, we offered curbside pick-up for awhile, we do in-home consultations, and we’ll take Zoom calls — anything we possibly can to help the customer,” Shaw says.

Phoebe Briley of Jacuzzi Hot Tubs of the Triangle and Norm Coburn of New England Spas

5. Putting People First

In the midst of all this, our dealers have displayed impressive patience and fortitude. They have made the best of a difficult situation, staying in constant communication with their customers, and being as transparent as possible in order to maintain strong working relationships. They have put challenges into perspective and focused on the positive. They have simultaneously showed appreciation for their own hard-working associates, as well as eased customer frustrations.

Rob Burns of Jacuzzi Ontario and Matthew Gray of Gohlke Pools

By listening closely to the needs of each person, whether customer, employee or supplier, they have brought out the best in each of us. While there are many things that can divide us in a crisis, hot tubs have a way of bringing people together. And with their perseverance and grace, our Jacuzzi Group dealers are leading the way