Moorhead, Minnesota • Stars Year: 2010
Troy Derheim of My Aquatic Services, a company that builds and remodels pools and hot tubs, has launched a nonprofit called Aquatics Empowered. The former owner of Tubs of Fun!, a 2010 Retail Star, Derheim’s charitable efforts focus on communities or entities that have struggled with the process of establishing an aquatic facility.
A big believer in aquatic therapy, Derheim says he wants everyone to have access to water. One issue he sees is that when communities think about aquatic therapy, they immediately think of a swimming pool, which isn’t always financially viable. And even if a pool is an option, he says, the process to get one is arduous.
“We want to take the effort out that,” Derheim says. “We want to make it a simple process. We want to show them that they don’t necessarily have to have [a swimming pool]. They could have self-contained hot tubs.”
Derheim wants Aquatics Empowered to connect communities, charities and organizations that seek an aquatic feature with the right industry professionals. “This isn’t for the big water parks or the places that have millions of dollars set aside,” Derheim says. “This is for the gap where people are being missed or overlooked. The projects may be as small as $50,000 to $500,000.”
Aquatics Empowered helps find funding for these projects by advising on various money-raising methods. After the pool or hot tub is installed and paid for, however, Aquatics Empowered’s involvement doesn’t end there. “We’re going to connect them with a group of physical therapists,” Derheim says, who will then provide therapy either onsite or even remotely consult on therapy options for the community.
For retailers who have working, used hot tubs, Derheim will have a place for those. “We want to be able to let people donate to the charity, rebuild a hot tub and repurpose that,” he says, “then give it to a community that can’t afford it.”
Georgia Spa Co.
Atlanta, Georgia • Stars Year: 2010
This year, Georgia Spa Company launched its Georgia Spa Gives Back program. Each quarter, the company selects a charity to sponsor and donates a portion of its proceeds from a given month to it.
“We have been very blessed in our business, and the Gives Back program allows us to help others throughout the year,” says Mark Stevens, owner of Georgia Spa Company.
The first recipient was the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation’s Summer Camp Oo-U-La, a camp for children with burn injuries. Georgia Spa donated $8,000 of its June proceeds.
The second recipient was Erin’s Hope for Friends, which facilitates friendships between teenagers who have Asperger’s and other high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. Georgia donated $7,150 of its September proceeds to the nonprofit.
Olympic Hot Tub
Seattle, Washington • Stars Year: 2017
Olympic Hot Tub holds two big annual fundraising events, in addition to sponsoring other local teams, charities and events. In April during its Heroes fundraising event, the company donates a portion of its sales to an organization that supports first responders or teachers. In 2018, it raised $17,700 for the Washington State Fallen Firefighters Foundation. In 2017, it raised $22,250 for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Fisher House, which provides assistance to families whose service members are receiving medical care at Madigan Army Medical Center.
Each October, it does the same for its Founders event, which owner Don Riling started partly to honor the legacy of the company’s original owners, Alice Cunningham and Blair Osborn, by supporting causes they supported. In 2017, it raised $17,900 for local food banks. This year’s recipient will be Path with Art, a local nonprofit that helps those recovering from homelessness, addiction and other trauma through art. The company set a goal to raise $15,000.
Valley Pools & Spas
Stars Year: 2012
Valley Pools & Spas partnered with its hot tub manufacturer, Marquis, and Make-A-Wish to provide a hot tub to a deserving child. It was the 800th wish Marquis has granted in its 18-year partnership with Make-A-Wish. Eleven-year-old Louie has cerebral palsy, and a hot tub aids in his therapy.
“The wish gives us the ability to be together [as a family] and enjoy ourselves,” says Louie’s mom Jeannette. “We will be able to provide additional therapy at home for Louie that is fun and entertaining.”
“It’s always an honor to help Make-A-Wish and Marquis provide a hot tub to a child and family, especially on this special occasion marking the 800th wish,” says Larry Berczyk, who owns and operates Valley Pools and Spas with his sister Cheryl Berczyk. “It’s important to recognize the benefits of a hot tub to the child and family’s mental and physical well-being.”