The Transitions Continue 

Megan Kendrick - that wacky, zany hot tub life

I know we’ve made succession planning our default theme of the year at SpaRetailer, but as more and more businesses are bought and sold in our industry, it feels like we’ve chosen well. And this issue underscores the importance. 

Last month, I visited hot tub manufacturer Dynasty Spas in Athens, Tennessee. Many of you probably remember Dynasty’s heyday under its founder Mike Deans. But after Deans died in 2011, the company struggled, highlighting how difficult it can be to succeed when a passionate founder isn’t around. Enter Trévi, one of Dynasty’s biggest customers, which purchased the manufacturer during the height of the pandemic. The improvements and investments that Trévi is making show its commitment to the brand and how acquisitions can go well.

I was surprised to learn that Aqua-Tech in Winnipeg, Canada, had been bought by a private equity firm. I have always assumed, and maybe you did too, that single-store pool and spa businesses would be too small to attract the attention of private equity, but I’ve been proven wrong. So perhaps a whole new avenue is open to our industry. 

And let’s not forget about ESOPs. Though it was no surprise as owner Vince Wuebker stated his intention to do so on The SpaRetailer Podcast last year, HotSpring Spas & Pool Tables 2 in North Dakota is now employee-owned. This marks the third hot tub business to convert to an ESOP, which we talk more about and will be the focus of two webinars in April and May.

In another big acquisition, which we will hopefully cover in an upcoming issue, Watson’s, the multistate furniture, hearth, hot tub and outdoor retailer, has purchased Recreational Warehouse, the southwest Florida stalwart formerly owned by Craig Ecelbarger. 

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So, unintentionally, in this issue, we cover several ways a business can be sold. Whether you are five years or five months away from wanting to ride off into the sunset, I hope you can glean valuable insights. 


Megan Kendrick, publisher