Even in a place as idyllic as Hawaii, people still want the relaxing benefits of hot tubs, but in such a unique location, it’s not always easy to sell and ship them. Luckily for customers, Hawaii Spas & Outdoor owner Brad Weinmann welcomes the challenge.
Hawaii Spas & Outdoor hasn’t always sold hot tubs; it started as a sporting goods and outdoor products retail store known as Kona Sports Center. But when the opportunity to sell hot tubs presented itself through The Ironman World Championship, a triathlon event held in Hawaii supported by Master Spas, the company pivoted.
Weinmann’s name was given to a Master Spas rep, and shortly after, he agreed his company would service any product Master Spas sold during the 2019 Ironman event, as well as take over any unsold product.
Suddenly, Weinmann was in the hot tub business.
“It was a risk, but Master Spas was really good working with us and helping us understand the industry,” Weinmann says. “They wanted somebody here to help serve those customers and also saw an opportunity in the market.”
Despite the consistent support from Master Spas, it took some time for Hawaii Spas & Outdoor to gain momentum. After taking on the product in October 2019, it was nearly six months before they made a sale.
“We’re thinking, ‘Oh geez. What did we get into? What mistake did we make?’ ” Weinmann recalls. “Then COVID hit, and as everyone knows, we just couldn’t keep them in stock. I enjoyed the revenue dollars — I think we all did — from how busy things were, but it’s evened out now to a more manageable pace.”
Despite the excitement and success from jumping into the industry, Hawaii Spas & Outdoor has experienced its share of obstacles due to its location.
- Sponsor -
Shipping is much more complicated, expensive and time-consuming than in the mainland U.S. Weinmann and his team also have to be strategic about what parts and spas they order as well as how many and when they order — along with how and where they are stored.
Additionally, the island Hawaii Spas & Outdoor is located on — the Big Island — has a fairly small population, resulting in both a limited labor force and customer base. This population is spread over a large area, making service calls or installation more difficult. The limited retail space can also make it hard to find a storefront or warehouse that meets all the business’s needs.
Despite the challenges, Weinmann enjoys being in the hot tub business — even the servicing part.
“We like having to figure out the puzzle of how to get a spa over a lava rock wall in between [the customer’s] palm trees and under their gazebo,” Weinmann says. “We like that aspect of it. It’s another connection to the community, too — meeting all the different people who want to have a hot tub.”
Luckily, Weinmann’s close-knit team shares his love of problem-solving. “I really enjoy the different challenges we run into on every delivery,” says David Bozarth, who has been doing delivery and sales throughout the transition process from Kona Sports Center to Hawaii Spas & Outdoor. “I’ve always enjoyed working with Brad.”
Along with growing hot tub sales, Weinmann is also expanding the outdoor segment of the store, bringing in spa accessories, outdoor furniture, outdoor games and more to diversify the store’s offerings and tap into the healthy lifestyle he wants to help provide for customers. As Bozarth puts it, “The business is unique because it’s not stuff you can buy on Amazon and have delivered.”
“We’re not selling hot tubs — we’re selling relaxation,” Weinmann says. “We’re selling time with family; we’re selling therapy; we’re selling rehab.”