If you open this issue of SpaRetailer to the back, you might notice our news section is a little light. It feels like the calm before the storm: Everyone is quietly adjusting to the new normal (yes, I also hate that term) and before we know it, there will be a slew of announcements.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how adversity breeds innovation, a slogan probably plastered to your brain after this last year. World history is full of examples, and in the COVID era we saw this happen in real time. In this issue of the magazine, we share the story of a retailer whose building fire helped transform the company into its current vision: Be the Bass Pro Shop of hot tubs. It was a pleasure to tell the Michelses’ story, and if you’d like to hear more of it, please listen to episode No. 57 of The SpaRetailer Podcast.
An area in the hot tub industry that’s seen slow, incremental change since its inception is the cover. Vinyl, EPS-filled covers do the job and are relatively inexpensive (although not simple to manufacture, as Jerry Greer from Core Covers has pointed out to me several times). Mike Genova, founder of Leisure Concepts, and I had a long conversation about the state of hot tub covers a couple months ago. Genova has worked for years to come up with an alternative in his Smartop, so he’s got skin in the game, but he believes there will come a day when regulations will no longer allow the use of EPS foam. It can’t be recycled, and some states have already banned its use in food containers. He’s probably right; it may not be for another five to 10 years, but I hope the industry comes up with a cost-effective solution before that forced change.
Acquisitions, personnel, capital investments — it’s all coming. We’ve seen what feels like cosmic shifts in how the hot tub industry operates in the last 18 months, for better or for worse. I think the best is yet to come. At the very least, there is a bunch of new spa products ready and waiting to be unleashed on the market.