About this time 10 years ago, the first issue of SpaRetailer came out; I joined the team a few months later. Ten years is a big milestone, especially considering the economic challenges we faced right off the bat. It wasn’t easy. But there has been a lot to celebrate in these years: marriages, babies, graduations, new homes. We’ve shared a lot of life together.
I’m so tickled that we have Don Riling, the owner of Olympic Hot Tub, on the cover for our 10th anniversary — not just because he’s an excellent retailer, fierce competitor and ambassador for hot tubs, but also because his story bookends well with ours. The founders of Olympic, Alice Cunningham and Blair Osborn, were on the very first cover of SpaRetailer.
In this issue, we look back at all our Retail Stars from the last 10 years. There are 101 of them! I wish I could tell you how many hours of interviews that represents — I’ve done all of them, and I’ve enjoyed almost all of them. Only a handful have closed up shop or stopped selling spas; almost all have added swim spas if they didn’t already carry them when first featured. Many have switched spa brands, and there are so many new locations.
Even with more than 100 retailers represented, there are still some we haven’t featured yet who deserve to be Stars. I’ve already started my list for next year.