“We had the perfect storm here: We had rain and cold during the height of the season, a bad economy, high unemployment… and price increases for raw materials. But, we are surviving because we’ve been in the business for a long time. We’ve been through three recessions, and we’ve learned from it.“First, we don’t do anything but pools and spas. We also have a very structured operation, and I do whatever it takes to keep my employees. They are my greatest asset. One thing that has kept them busy this season was reconditioning spas. We had more customers who traded in their tubs toward new ones. Since these are quality spas, we can recondition and resell them. We have been doing this for a while, but this year, because of the economy, people may not have the $8,000 for a new spa, but they do have $3,000 to $4,000. It has been extremely successful: We sold more than 80 pre-owned hot tubs. We even created a separate booth for these spas at a home fair, and were blown away by the response. We sold all 15-plus of the spas we had on display.“This coming year, if we have good weather, I think there will be a lot of pent up demand for pools in our area. The problem is whether there will be enough dealers solvent enough to last. At the end of the day, I believe that this industry can and will be more successful. I don’t go to work every day because I have to. I do it because I have a passion for it. It’s a wonderful industry and it’s fun.”
— Ted Hebert, president/owner, Teddy Bear Pools Inc., Chicopee, Mass.