A Clean Sweep With Private Label

Retail Raves” asks one retailer to specify a product that’s making a difference in his or her business. All professionals featured in this column are selected at random.

We’ve managed to build a solid reputation over the past 35 years.

Customers appreciate our service and knowledge as much as they do our pools and products.

As a result, company owner Ted Hebert constantly is looking for ways to spread the company’s brand. Effective branding, he reasons, puts our name in the customer’s backyard instead of someone else’s.

While we’ve offered private label products for decades, in recent years our branded automatic pool cleaner – the Bearbot Turbo T2 ­has become quite’ fashionable.

What it is

The product is virtually identical to the Aquabot Turbo T2 from Aqua Products Inc., which we offer as well.

The difference is in the branding: Our version has the blue and white Bearbot logo.

The Bearbot carries the same standard features found on most robotic vacuum systems. It includes an impeller motor for climbing walls and a belt motor to propel the treads.

As a self-contained vac  tium system, it comes with an internal collection bag. The unit blows debris into the bag as it moves through the pool, creating minimal – if any – wear and tear on the pool’s filtration system.The product also includes a 65 foot floating cord that plugs into an electrical box on the deck. An 8 foot cord connects the box to a standard three pronged outlet.

Why he likes it

If there’s an opportunity to private label a product, we usually do it. Brand recognition is important to us, which is why our entire store is adorned in blue and white. It’s also why nearly all of our chemicals are Teddy Bear Pools brand.

We rolled out the first generation Bearbot approximately 10 years ago. It split its cleaning time between the bottom and the walls, covering the entire pool in about four hours.In 2005, we introduced the T2, which covers 4,800 square feet per hour, cleaning an entire pool up to 50 feet in lem!th in about an hour.It filters 5,000 gph.

The T2 is preprogrammed to sweep in a circular pattern, unlike its predecessor, which moved randomly. It spends one quarter of the time onthe walls, and the remainder on the pool floor.

Other modifications to the T2 include a split wheel system, which enables it to’ climb curved walls, and aprogrammable shut off, whereas the original automatically shut down after seven hours.

How he sells it

We sell an average of 60 Bearbots per year, mostly aftermarket.

The unit is priced at $1,399, and usually one or two are in our display pools.

Because it’s available on our Web site, we also sell a handful out of state. Thisis where service comes in because we honor all manu­facturers’ warranties, stock the equipment parts and handle repairs in house.

So if a customer buys one Ionline and it needs repair, we’ll have it sent back and I service it at the store; the I customer never has to ship it back to the manufacturer.

We promote the Bearbots through fliers and direct mail, especially ahead of our pre season sale, which runs from the last week of April through Mother’s Day.

Buyers receive 10 percent off all purchases up to $300, and 15 percent off purchases beyond $300 for all chemi­cals and equipment, exclud­ing complete filter systems and aboveground pools.

We’ll move anywhere from eight to 12 units during this sale.