Acrylic manufacturer offers spas at rotomold pricing
By Jim Raposa
Mike Johnson is excited to talk about Signature Spas, he has plenty of reasons, but his No. 1 reason is: American made. “We’re made in America, by Americans,” Johnson says. “We’ve gone out of our way — more than any other manufacturer — to make our product in America with American parts. For example, our jets are Balboa…most every component in our spas is American made.”
Johnson says that before he joined Signature, his goal was to eliminate integration of components made in China. “That’s taboo in this business,” he says. “We just purchased the machinery to produce our own flex hose and clear tubing. We are trying to manufacture everything in-house.” Its cabinetry is also made in-house by its parent company, LPI manufacturing in Johnson City, Tennessee, he says.
Based in Florida, Johnson is no stranger to spa manufacturing, founding Dream Maker Spas and working at several others. He began getting phone calls from Dave Hatley, owner of Signature Spas/LPI Manufacturing. Johnson went on a plant tour and liked what he saw. He long desired to create an acrylic spa with real cabinets and amenities at a rotomold price and that was what Hatley was doing. After some due diligence, he joined the company because of Hatley’s commitment to the product line and financial backing.
“We’re the acrylic spa company with models retailing from $2,995 to $4,995,” Johnson says. “We also make and do very well with our bigger, seven- and eight-foot spas which feature two pumps, 220 volts, all the bells and whistles and we’re still about $500 to $1,000 less than what I consider our competition. Compared to the big boys, we’re about $3,000 less.”
Shelby Dawson, of Defiance Water Recreation in northwest Ohio, began carrying Signature Spas in early 2016. “Our customers are delighted to find an acrylic spa at an entry-level price point,” Dawson says. “We’ve carried plenty of other brands, but one thing we like about Signature Spas is the quality of the tub. It has a good selection of models, and they sell very well.”
A REVOLUTION IN SPA MOTION
Signature’s mantra is to deliver value to the consumer with features and benefits they can’t find elsewhere. For example, if there’s a knock on most plug-and-play units, it’s that when the jets are turned to the highest speed, the heater stops working. “The key to these motors is in the manifold system,” Johnson says. “Most manifolds go sideways, the barb sticks up and the backpressure is pointed down and turns back up. We’ve patented a manifold that sits directly on top of the pump. The pump sits under the four corners, where the seats are, when the water goes up there’s no backpressure on the water flow. That means you use less amperage, less pump and you experience more water flow. And at high speed the heater doesn’t cut off.”
In November 2016, LPI purchased Catalina Spas, a hot tub and swim spa manufacturer that has been in business since 1977.
“This acquisition is our first of hopefully several as we continue to fill our manufacturing capacity at our new 318,000-square-foot Tennessee facility,” Hatley says.
Price is a major part of Signature Spas’ success. “We know the customer is going to shop around,” Johnson says. “We want to provide the customer with features and benefits they can’t get anywhere else. And did I mention we’re American made?”