Owner: Blaine Budke Nebraska: McCook and Grand Island HotTubBrokers.com Facebook Hot Tubs: Passion Spas, Strong Spas, Cal Spas, Caldera Spas, Coast Spas Swim Spas: Cal Spas, Passion Spas Chemicals: Leisure Time Accessories: Leisure Concepts
Hot Tub Brokers in Nebraska is Blain Budke’s second run at a
retail store. He entered the industry in 1999 as Tri-State Spas, which grew to
four locations. Over time, however, he closed two of the Tri-State Spas stores
and sold two, becoming a sales rep for spa dealers at state fairs and expos. He
traveled all over the country and called himself The Hot Tub Broker.
A few years later, one of the individuals Budke sold a store to
was in financial trouble. Budke reclaimed ownership of the location, in McCook,
Nebraska, in July 2017 — but he needed to remove any association with the
Tri-State Spas name. “I went
with Hot Tub Brokers, and it’s worked out really well for us,” Budke says.
McCook has a population of about 7,000, and is a hot spot for
several smaller surrounding communities. “It’s like McCook is the hub of a wheel and the smaller towns are
the spokes,” Budke says. “So
everybody comes to our little town to shop. We sell about 150 hot tubs a year
out of McCook.”
A Larger Wheel
In May of this year, a second Hot Tub Brokers location opened in
Grand Island, Nebraska — 150 miles away, with a population of around 60,000.
Until then, Budke would travel that far for a hot tub install anyway, so he
says it made sense to add the Grand Island location.
“It’s also the
hub of the wagon wheel,” Budke says. “There’s a trade area of about 300,000 people in the [Grand Island area].
That’s what triggered me to open this location, and it’s been working out
Aside from Budke, there are two employees at the McCook location
— a secretary and a part-time salesman — and the Grand Island store has a
manager and a service tech. Right now, Budke does all the installs, splitting
his time between both locations — Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Grand
Island; Mondays and Fridays at McCook. He installs a significantly higher
number of hot tubs in the Grand Island area, while patrons of the McCook store
are far more spread out.
“We’ll [install] two or three hot tubs in one afternoon in the Grand Island area
because we’re only traveling 10 miles from the store,” Budke says. “Where, in my McCook location, we
can only set up one a day because we’re traveling 100 miles one way.”
Budke expects to hire one or two more people soon. “I’m building this up so my employees can
run the stores and I can go down south and play in the wintertime,” he says. “We’ll just keep paddling along,
keep selling hot tubs and make a lot of money.”
Budke’s short-term goal is for Hot Tub Brokers to sell 200 to 250
hot tubs by the end of 2019. He believes the environment he creates in his
stores will make that possible.
“People are coming in here to have a good time,” Budke says. “We sell fun that’s going to last them eight, 10, 12 years. Hopefully their kids are going to grow up having a hot tub and will come back and [buy one as adults]. And then Mom and Dad are going to downsize later because they don’t need an eight-person hot tub anymore. We sell [generations of] fun, and that’s basically what it comes down to.”