Since expanding Patio Galaxy into the hot tub and swim spas arena, owner 37-year-old Randy Antrikin has been busier than ever. So busy, in fact, that he can’t be sure whether he is 37-year-old Randy Antrikin.
“I think I’m 37. I stopped counting after awhile,” Randy admits facetiously. “…I was 36 two years in a row, because I forgot how old I was.”
Fortunately, Randy isn’t running the outdoor living business alone. His wife, Amye Antrikin, is co-owner of the retailer, which began in 2005 with the opening of its Bethany, Oklahoma, location. In the subsequent years, Patio Galaxy has continued to grow, opening locations in Edmond, Moore, and as of last month, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It wasn’t until January 2021, during a worldwide pandemic, that the ambitious pair decided to add hot tubs and swim spas to an inventory that already included barbeque grills, patio furniture, pavilions, fireplaces, kitchen equipment and much more.
For Randy, who also owns a sister business dedicated to outdoor construction and installation projects called PMH Construction, the addition of hot tubs and swim spas came easily.
“I never really had a long-term dream of being a hot tub dealer, but at some point, hot tubs were really starting to get noticeable for me,” Randy says. For a time, he had been referring hot tub leads to another local business, which led him to start paying more attention to just how much business he was giving away.
“I started researching hot tubs and feel like at some point I just said, ‘All right, I’m gonna become a hot tub dealer,’ ” Randy says. “It really just happened like that overnight.”
The company chose to make Dimension One Spas its brand of choice for hot tubs, which Randy feels has been a big part of what made the transition so easy. “They’re an amazing company and not just because of the product, but the support behind the products,” he says. “My rep, the vice president, even the CEO — just talking to those people, you feel like you’re talking to your best friends.” That relationship, says Randy, has made working out the complex details that come with discussing things like warranty contracts and finding parts a stress-free experience.
Another way Patio Galaxy keeps things running smoothly is by creating a similarly stress-free environment for its customers. This is achieved by giving customers an interactive and immersive showroom experience: The outdoor products are set up to allow customers to imagine the products in their homes, taste barbeque sauces, explore a real-life man cave or she shed, and even tour a mood room, which includes a functional spa that can be wet-tested.
“It’s like a grown-up playground,” jokes Lacey Handley, Patio Galaxy’s general manager.
According to Handley, the stores aren’t just a fun place to shop, but also a fun place to work. “I love this company so much because it’s always changing,” Handley says. “There’s always something new and always something to learn. I’m never bored.”
Handley has worked with Patio Galaxy for almost three years and got to witness firsthand the unanticipated explosion in demand for the company’s newest product during the height of the pandemic, as well as the difficulties that came with trying to meet those demands.
“It was a bit of a challenge at first because of how quickly lead times changed,” Handley says. “You go from 28 weeks to 40 or 52, all within a couple months. But once we realized what was happening, well, Randy and Amye being the geniuses that they are, created our pipelines. We started ordering things a year and a half out.”
According to Handley, when other businesses began having trouble keeping up their stock, Patio Galaxy was prepared. “God blesses the hands of the diligent,” Handley says.
One challenge that hadn’t been anticipated, however, was how difficult it would be to find more hard-working employees like Handley to meet the growing demands of operating four stores and a construction business.
For the Antrikins, hiring new people means more than just getting warm bodies. Because the pair care about the company’s reputation and brand, Randy admits to being very selective when it comes to bringing on new hires, even at a time when the market is so competitive.
“I wouldn’t even call them employees,” Randy says. “They’re family members. When we hire, we try to hire people who will be around forever. And so, finding that person is really tough.”
One quality of the hot tub industry Randy says he can relate to is a constant drive to improve upon that which others might dismiss as “good enough.” For Randy, nothing is so perfect that it can’t be made better.
“[Hot tub manufacturers] care about their product,” Randy says. “Something may not even be broken, but they’re still trying to fix it and make it better. Like the lights and the cabinets and all that. Everything is great, but you’re pushing that limit. The innovation behind [hot tubs] really goes a long way with me. I’m a younger guy, and I am constantly pushing technology and innovation on my side of things, so they’re a great partner to have.”
Currently, the company is still settling into its newest location. The goal, says Randy, is to build the company’s reputation as a leader in the newly established areas. What happens after that, Randy says, is yet to be decided, adding cryptically, “More locations are not being ruled out.”
At this rate, Randy may stay 37 for many years to come.