Customers support Canadian dealer’s family business, renovation
Stroll into CK Spas in Quebec, Canada, on a weekend, and 8-year-old Mateüsz (Matty), son of owners Charles and Dana Hyde, may offer an enthusiastic greeting. He’ll either be demonstrating the versatility of a swim spa as he takes a dip, or will usher you over to show off his favorite hot tub.
“He’s really cute about it,” Dana says. “He talks about the self-cleaning and how the filtration works. He’s listened to us do it enough that he knows it.”
This small salesman won’t be all that catches your attention in CK Spas’ showroom, which can house up to 14 hot tubs and a swim spa; a recently acquired space across the parking lot displays eight additional swim spas. The rustic charm in the newly remodeled space — complete with Edison bulbs, AstroTurf floors and an ambient fire in a functioning fireplace — makes customers feel right at home, Dana says.
About a decade ago, Charles Hyde was a residential mover. He began to notice that companies moving hot tubs were making more money than he was with less effort, so he transitioned to moving spas. It wasn’t long before homeowners were asking him to take their used spas away to make room for new ones, leading Charles to refurbish and sell used hot tubs out of their garage.
In 2018, Matty started kindergarten and Dana was considering a return to waitressing. Instead, Charles convinced her the two should open a showroom and sell used spas. They began attending spa shows and, by February 2019, had picked up several chemical brands and accessories to sell alongside the spas. At the recommendation of their backyard products rep, the Hydes attended Hydropool’s dealer gala in December 2019 and were so impressed with the culture that they signed on to be dealers at the event.
“We wanted to bring on just a few 110-volt spas because we had trouble finding them used,” Dana says. “But we basically went from, ‘Where are we going to take this?’ to bringing in everything Hydropool offered.”
Hot Tubs / Swim Spas
Mineraluxe, Spa Marvel, Dazzle
When COVID hit just a few months later, Dana says they could no longer justify selling used spas. “[Homeowners] started asking astronomical prices for their used hot tubs,” she explains. “We’d sell a refurbished hot tub for $7,000 to $8,000 with a new cover, new filters, new headrest, warranty and delivery. They’re being sold by people out of their backyards for the same price. I explain to our customers ‘I don’t feel right selling you a 15-year-old hot tub at $8,000 when brand new ones start at $8,000.’ In good conscience we decided it’s not who we are; we’re honest salespeople.”
That wasn’t the only thing the pandemic changed. Renovations to the CK Spas space started in early 2020 but were put on hold due to COVID. “The day we opened [after shutdown], Charles received 137 phone calls,” Dana recalls. “He couldn’t even keep up. We were just too busy to continue renovations; it was chaos for months.” Work began again earlier this year, and Dana says the results were worth the wait.
“People come in, and you see the smile light up on their faces,” she says of both the showroom and attention customers get from Matty. For the Hydes, that small, family-owned business appeal is very important. While they want a bigger building eventually, they’re trying to avoid feeling like a big-box store.
“We’re able to keep a better eye on everything as a small business,” Dana says. “Clients come in, and it’s usually me doing their water test. The person that sold them their hot tub is the person helping them take care of it. That’s the way we want it.”
In 2020, CK Spas won these Hydropool dealer awards: