Misadventures in Moving

Dealers share the hiccups of expansion, relocation

Compiled by Kim Patterson

Any store owner who’s changed locations or added a location knows the process comes with glitches. Sometimes major problems arise, and other times a series of smaller mishaps add up to big frustrations. It can be challenging to anticipate every detail that can go sideways. Here, retailers share their experiences.

Coordinating subcontractors, performing build-outs and renovations and the timing of their work can be a challenge. Surprises emerge during city inspections. This is especially true when inspectors arrive. Usually, the surprises are a result of working on zoning matters — the requirements and enforcement of them, and flexibility with them, can be different from one community to another, and from one inspector/town official to another.

Dennis Marunde
owner, Arvidson Pools & Spas
Crystal Lake, Illinois

It seems like when you’re looking at your store, you could just put everything on a truck and bring it to the other store — the million trips and how many little things you have to take down and then put back up. That’s the biggest challenge: underestimating how much junk you’ve accumulated. I’m a planner. We open stores almost like we do a home show: We make lists. We start with the big things like flooring, walls, ceiling and lighting, and get down to the light switch covers and the little details.

Bill Renter
president, Best Hot Tubs
Farmingdale, New York

It’s becoming harder to find people willing to work and learn this crazy business we are in. There is room for growth, personal, financial and professional in this business if you’re willing to work hard.

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Brian Potenziano
general manager
Coral Isle Pools & Spas, Inc.
Vestal, New York

The hardest part is not planning your time frame on getting the store set up, and not funding the inventory to fill up the store. You need to start with a full inventory, which means ordering significant additional inventory to start that season that won’t immediately turn over. Most people either try to spread out their inventory to start, then it looks like they don’t have good inventory in their new store, or they bring in too much and run into serious cash-flow issues when it doesn’t turn quick enough.

Eric Cassidy
vice president of sales and operations
Valley Pool & Spa
North Versailles, Pennsylvania

Manage your expectations of when things will get completed so you can move or open, especially in major metropolitan markets. There are contractors, subcontractors, city inspectors, architects, licensing and suppliers all involved. Just one delay can cause a ripple that could affect your opening by weeks or months. Finding a contractor who will manage as much of this for you as possible — and staying in almost daily communication with them on any glitch or change that needs to be addressed — is critical.

Don Riling
president, Olympic Hot Tub

*These responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.