It Can Be Done

Simple, cost-effective changes from a real renovation

I’ve been visiting local spa stores to prepare for my seminars at the International Pool | Spa | Patio show in Las Vegas and The Pool & Spa Show in Atlantic City. I stopped into Spas of Oregon in Gladstone, Oregon, the other day and was inspired by its renovation and a huge new space they’ve opened in back of their showroom.

When I walked in, I felt good. Looking around, I saw the small main floor entry area had the checkout counter and chemicals. There were five stairs going up to what looked like a romantic, evening spa area. This section had recently been repainted into a deep eggplant tone. The floor plants had small lights on the floor shooting up into the leaves, creating dramatic shadow effects on the walls. Rather than jamming a bunch of spas in this relatively small space, there were only four, and they were spread out nicely.

The salesman that day was Phil Barry, and he graciously showed me around, proud of the changes they had made to the second floor. He then opened double doors into a huge, bright space that had recently been painted an off white. It felt enormous compared to the rest of the store. There were some spas scattered, and it was clear this area was mid-makeover.

I took several photos to help demonstrate for them what could be done fairly affordably in this area. I mocked up some quick fixes for the “romantic” area to enhance what had been done to date.

BEFORE: This is the back room freshly painted and in the process of renovation. It needs at least six ceiling fans or an HVAC system to bring in fresh air.

STEP ONE: Signs have been discussed for the décor, but signs alone will not make this look interesting. They’ll just look like signs, stuck on the walls to take up space.

It’s relatively inexpensive to add color. While it’s been painted, the blankness of the walls makes the space feel like a discount spa store. It’s been proven that people will shop longer in a green environment, as they seem to lose track of time. Green calms our nervous system, and we relax more into the immediate experience.

STEP TWO: The back wall is the primary focal area and sets the tone for the entire room. The door can easily be papered over if it’s switched to a flat-faced door. The frame should be removed and any gaps spackled and sanded until the entire door area is flat and disappears under the mural — only the handle can stick out. Only the employees need to know about the door.

This is a photo taken off an iPhone. There are many large-scale printers throughout the country who will happily enlarge a photo to your specified size. If you choose to add a mural, make sure the paper it’s printed on will work for a wallpaper application. Very important: Confirm with the printer that your photo will blow up clearly and not look pixelated.

With your photo mural you can honor your town/city/state with a picture that represents a local attraction or something of which the community is proud. Or, a great landscape that someone lucky may see while sitting in their spa.

STEP THREE: Add some foliage and an attractive front focal area. If you carry outdoor furniture, this is the ideal place to show it off. If you don’t, this is where your newest, most impressive spa sits, enhanced by some great quality foliage. Don’t shop for foliage at a local store. Two of the best companies are: autographfoliages.com and commercialsilk.com. When they are shipped, they arrive in boxes and will need to be “fluffed” to look good. That can take time but it’s worth it! Make sure you also order containers for the trees and/or bushes. It’s tempting to save money by shopping for sale containers locally but it’s highly likely you’ll put it off or buy mismatching containers that will detract from your spas. Do it right all at once. You won’t regret it.

FINISHING TOUCHES: When people see a door, their first thought is, “Where does this go to?” If it’s not going anywhere you want them to be, paint it out! Match the door to the immediate surrounding walls and paint the frame to match. Anything that distracts the customer from your merchandise isn’t doing you any favors.

FINE TUNING: The metal railing is painted the original off white. Because the lower area is a soft green and the second floor is the deep eggplant tone, this white railing pops, making it more visually important than the merchandise above and below. Painting it the same color as the top wall makes it disappear but it still will do its job — preventing people from falling off the ledge.

This is one section of the second level. The spa photo in the upper left area changes color and the movement is added interest to the area. The door should either be painted out or kept closed.

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