Doug Robinson Owner, Virginia Leisure Chesapeake, Virginia
We carry Breezesta patio furniture. Another retailer was carrying it down in south Florida, and my store manager thought we should bring it in. First, we brought in only Adirondack chairs to put out front to gain attention.
Most ancillary products were just to get people in the store to look at pools and hot tubs, but the Breezesta line has grown considerably. It’s probably the No. 4 category for us. I think we’ve got a shot at having Breezesta overtaking chemicals this year. I don’t really want to be in the patio furniture business, but it’s done so well for us so we’ve embraced it.
I would guess at least 70% of our Breezesta sales are from people who have bought pools or hot tubs from us. They see the displays, and we talk to them about it because that furniture is really good quality. It’s recycled and has vibrant colors. We have a main area where we display Breezesta, then a few sets scattered throughout. People are sick of having to replace patio furniture every few years. This stuff is very heavy duty.
Jennifer Gannon Owner, BonaVista Leisurescapes Toronto, Ontario, Canada
BonaVista offers a line of custom fire features built here in Canada. The Dekko product is made of concrete with river rock, and is a beautiful way to warm up the evenings and extend the season. We also offer outdoor kitchens: built-in grills from Lynx in California and Napoleon here in Ontario. We serve the landscape trades by providing their clients with the grills and modules that include sinks, fridges, side burners and storage. Another favorite is aqua fitness gear and aromatherapy to enhance the experience in the water.
Rita Rowlen President, Ultra Modern Pool & Patio Wichita, Kansas (two locations)
In the Midwest, the pool business is seasonal and relatively short. The patio furniture and hot tub businesses are a perfect match, since both enjoy more year-round use, plus we had warehouse space. We already had a service team for pools, so it made servicing spas much easier. We added gas grills at about the same time. We added outdoor kitchens about 20 years ago.
The more interesting your retail store is, the more draw there is for customers and potential customers. We brought in our first set of patio furniture in 1967 because quality patio furniture was hard to find. We kept selling what we displayed, so we started ordering patio furniture by the truckload. Today it is a solid business; however, the breadth of patio furniture in retail stores and online is astronomical due to the popularity of the outdoor room. We mostly select brands that are exclusive to our market.