The Backyard Frontier

Welcome to our second annual Backyard Living edition

I find it refreshing to move away from hot tubs for a short time in order to consider the rest of the backyard and the opportunities it offers spa retailers. I know you’re constantly trying to figure out how to get more people in the door and get those people to spend more with you — which is why so many hot tub retailers have added products to enhance customers’ outdoor experiences.

We talk about a lot in these pages — including saunas, coolers, aromatherapy, grills, patio furniture and designing the perfect outdoor room.

And if you want a primer on delving into new products, take a look at what Aqua Quip has accomplished. We featured it as one of our Retail Stars in 2009, and since then it has found an extra 20 percent of volume with products that weren’t in its showrooms prerecession. Unlike many dealers who tried new things during the downturn and abandoned them when hot tub sales picked up again, this company found a way to make grills, hearth products and electrical contracting a big part of its business.

As I’m writing this, I can see my own backyard, and I’m thinking about what we’ve done to improve it this year and what is left to be done. All of our immediate neighbors have made improvements as well, with things like fences, grills, decks, landscaping, pergolas and pools. I’m guessing you see the same in your neighborhoods as well. Hot tub retailers are in a unique position to explore this sector, and we hope this issue will help you start.


Megan Kendrick, managing editor