Make Your Wishes Come True

Cost-effective ways to add wish list items to your store

In the August/September issue of SpaRetailer, insiders answered the question “If money was no object, what is your perfect hot tub store wish list?” Out of the many answers, I’ve selected four relatively doable projects with a price range to suit your budget. 

Often, the things keeping you from making your design wishes come true are time, money and space. The way to make any one of these happen is to pick one, set a deadline and go to work.

If a lack of space is your biggest concern, consider bringing in a consultant. This person should have experience with organization and store design. Discuss what you’d like to accomplish and see what they think can be moved or reorganized to make that area happen; a pair of fresh eyes can make a big difference. Be open to moving merchandise on your selling floor that isn’t turning over and making money. 

I consulted for the owner of a successful shoe store whose stockroom was too small for the large amount of stock he needed each season. There were at least nine large, broken floor fixtures taking up stockroom space, so we tagged each fixture that could be sold or given away. If you don’t have space, you need to make space.

If time is a problem, figure out how long it will take to make a wish happen and either bring someone in from the outside or offer a salesperson extra hours to do the work themselves. You’d be surprised who among your friends, family or staff has the creativity and talent to knock out a project.

Then there’s money. If I ask, “Can you put a price on having a design feature come true?” chances are you’ll say “Yes!” But if that feature will make your spa store more appealing to customers — it can be well worth the cost.

Mia Kendrick enjoying the kids play area at Spartan Pool & Patio in Norman, Oklahoma

Wish No. 1 

“A small play area to keep kids busy but still close and in view of parents while they shop and finalize contracts.”

Any space for kids to play must be far away from the front and back doors and be in view of at least one aware and responsible adult. It can be as simple as a soft, colorful area carved out next to a wall, between two spa units or even close to the checkout desk. Consider using plush carpet squares so the floor is comfortable but practical in case of spills. An inexpensive monitor with a DVD player will keep most children busy while their parents shop. 

Make the space visually special by adding an easy-to-see, peel-on, peel-off wall graphic. Not only does it make the space more fun, but it also makes it easier to find when the parents do visual checks on their kids.

Wish No. 2 

“A cozy seating area with drinks available to clients and equipped with an information center housing brochures, pamphlets, how-to guides, product information and descriptions.” 

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This doesn’t have to be large, just well-organized. Having even a 3-foot-high floor-standing wall fixture to hold paper cups, napkins and other stock items will make this area easy to maintain. Fresh bottled water can be in a small refrigerator or from a floor-standing water cooler. Coffee is welcome year-round, as is cider in the fall. 

Check Amazon, Displays2Go or Wayfair for wall-mounted Plexiglass or wood brochure holders that can keep your product information organized and neat. If no wall space is available, an old architectural plans file is a great alternative; Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor are good places to source these from. Label each drawer on the outside with the contents, and add tile or a waterproof mat to the counter to catch any drink spills. Depending on the height, you may be able to put the file box on top of a simple table and fit a small refrigerator underneath. 

If the space allows, add simple but sturdy chairs to make it more inviting. Ideally, this area should be identified with a large graphic, photo or art — something colorful to attract attention and large enough that it doesn’t look dinky. 

Wish No. 3 

“Separate cash and water testing desks to make for a quick in-and-out for those picking up something.” 

The plus to a quick in-and-out is that the customer saves time; the negative is that they don’t see anything new you have to offer. You can accomplish both with a floor fixture next to either or both of the cash and testing desks with a “New” sign attached.  

If possible, make space to the right of your front door against the side wall for the testing desk. People look left to right and then gravitate right when they come into a store. The water testing area needs a sign the width of the desk, attached to the wall or hanging above the unit. If there’s a stockroom door behind that desk, it will make it even more efficient. 

Wish No. 4

“An outside area for pets to relieve themselves and an inside area with water dishes. We believe in being pet-friendly and not leaving pets in a hot car.”

A happy, hydrated dog is a joy but placing mats under indoor drinking bowls is a must; the Splat Mat on Amazon is an affordable option. This can be positioned in the “dead zones” immediately to the left or right of your front door.

An outside dog potty area can be a real challenge, but it is doable. Make sure you have a roll of bags either on a floor-standing unit or attached to the side of your building. A small, covered garbage can next to the bags is a must.