By Michelle L. Cramer
Photography by Nathan Lopez
Owner: David Isaacs
Johnson City, Tennessee
Facebook: Bullfrog Spas of Tri-Cities
Facebook: Isaacs Pools & Spas
Instagram: Isaacs Pools & Spas LLC
Hot Tubs: Bullfrog Spas
Hot Tubs (Isaacs Pools & Spas): Hot Spring Spas and Freeflow Spas
Chemicals: BioGuard and Natural Chemistry
A couple of years after David Isaacs became sole owner of Isaacs Pools & Spas in Johnson City, Tennessee — the company founded by his father and grandfather in 1978 — he began to feel his spa brands needed their own stores to fully showcase what each had to offer. In September 2018, Isaacs opened Bullfrog Spas of Tri-Cities, showcasing Bullfrog there and Hot Spring and Freeflow Spas at the Isaacs location. “[I wanted] to generate my own competition with my Hot Spring dealership in an attempt to grab more market share,” Isaacs says.
There are five major hot tub dealers in a 45-mile radius of Johnson City. When sales staff at Isaacs and Tri-Cities ask which competing stores its customers have visited, most say they’ve gone to all five before making a decision, says Mark Halvorsen, branch manager for Tri-Cities. In creating his own competition, however, Isaacs is cornering much of the local market by having two of those five locations, Halvorsen says.
“Owning different brands opens the funnel to more consumers by giving them unique experiences and differentiating products,” Halvorsen says. “You have to remove yourself from the brand loyalty a bit and think about how you’re creating unique experiences with unique selling features, no matter what brand you’re putting in each store.”
September 15 was the first anniversary of Tri-Cities opening and, while it did not meet its projections in units at the end of the first year of business, Isaacs says it did break even by meeting its revenue goal.
“With increased competition from a local manufacturer, two other brick-and-mortar retail stores and a fairly stagnant market in the first two quarters, both stores are behind projected revenues and units,” Isaacs says. “The competition between the two salesmen has continued to be friendly and fierce, and it appears there has been very little cannibalization of the Hot Spring store.”
Isaacs also says traffic is picking up in both stores, which should lead to the year ending well. “As we move into 2020,” he says, “I am cautiously optimistic that a good economy and good strategic positioning of both brands in the marketplace will yield the incremental increase in revenue and units I am projecting.”