Partners in Success: How One Pool Equipment Manufacturer is Helping the Brick-and-Mortar Business

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The pool industry's brick-and-mortar landscape has changed dramatically, with Amazon.com and other online suppliers selling more equipment than ever before directly to consumers and bypassing retailers. But Patio Pleasures Pools & Spas, a full-service builder, service provider and retailer with two Wisconsin locations in Madison and nearby Sun Prairie, continues to thrive by providing quality products and above-and-beyond customer service that only comes with personal, face-to-face interactions.

That's why the company has survived since 1992.

Patio Pleasures' commitment to excellence is complemented by its partnership with Pentair, which has taken an active interest in the company's projects and retail operations.

“Our Pentair sales reps get excited about our projects. They’ll be like, ‘Hey, we’re coming through your area next Monday. Can we stop by one of your projects and see what you’re doing?’ Pentair is the only equipment manufacturer that has done that,” says Brett Huston, vice president of installation and service at Patio Pleasures, and one of the company's four owners. “It’s nice to have a supplier who is as excited about what we’re doing as we are.”

That enthusiasm is one of several reasons why Patio Pleasures installs Pentair products in every residential pool they build.

“We really like Pentair products and try to make the equipment pad exclusively Pentair,” says Rene Huston, one of

president of Patio Pleasures and Brett’s wife, citing the manufacturer’s high level of technical support and low rate of product failure. “One thing I really like about Pentair and their partnership with builders and retailers is that they offer a three-year extended warranty when you use three or more Pentair products. That’s easy to do on a new pool build, and it’s a nice thing for us to extend to our customers.”

Patio Pleasures installs about 10 in-ground fiberglass pools and 30 above-ground pools annually, including an unusual project in Lodi, Wis., in which the homeowner — which owns and operates an excavation business — actually served as a project subcontractor.

Set on a 15-acre parcel of land in a sloping backyard, the rectangular 35-foot fiberglass pool required the construction of a retaining wall.

“It was a unique situation, because the homeowner provided the excavation, and all the materials needed for the backfill and to change the elevation so the pool could sit level on the hillside,” Brett says. “They knew what they were doing, but they also told us, ‘You guys are in charge. You tell us what to do, and we’ll do it’ — even though it was their backyard!”

Powered by Pentair

The Lodi pool, completed in 2018, is loaded with Pentair products. The equipment list includes an EasyTouch® automation system with IntelliChlor® Salt Chlorine Generator support and a ScreenLogic2® Interface, an IntelliFlo® Variable Speed Pump, a Clean and Clear® Cartridge Filter, a MasterTemp® heater, three GloBrite® LED lights, and a ColorVision® LED bubbler.

“Everything goes together, so there are no control problems,” Brett says. “When you start mixing brands, it makes it a little harder to control other product lines.”

All told, the Lodi project cost about $150,000, according to the Hustons, and it represents a trend in which Patio Pleasures customers are opting for fiberglass pools that feature a large sundeck at one end and a shallower overall depth.

Patio Pleasures also installed an aesthetically appealing enclosure to hide the equipment pad from view while keeping it easily accessible. The company provides biweekly maintenance, too, and opens and closes the pool each season.

“If we can continue to be part of a project by doing the maintenance, we enjoy that,” Rene says. “That way, we also still have control of the pool environment to make sure that things are operating well and that the water is being cared for the right way.”

‘A Very Strong Partnership’

The only pool equipment Patio Pleasures sells in its stores is manufactured by Pentair, and the 6,000-square-foot showroom in Sun Prairie includes a display featuring a hands-on Pentair equipment pad.

“From a brick-and-mortar aspect, Pentair supports us because we can tell customers that we have a service team that can install the equipment,” Rene says. “When it’s professionally installed, you get a better warranty. When you buy it online and install it yourself, your warranty is going to look a little different.”

Patio Pleasures’ Sun Prairie location opened in 1992; the Hustons, as well as Rene's sister Adrianne DeSelle and electrician Tom Tritt, purchased it in 2004 and remodeled and expanded in 2018. They opened the Madison location in 2009, but the couple is building a new location in the city that is expected to open in summer 2020 and showcase even more Pentair equipment.

“One of the most important aspects in choosing who we’re going to partner with is having a partner who is always willing to go to bat for us and understands the value of service, construction and brick and mortar,” Rene says. “Yes, Pentair is a large company. But I can call them and say, ‘Let me talk through a scenario with you.’ And they are open-eared and ready to work with me. They will send people out to our showroom or to the actual pool, and they also offer training for us. It’s just a very strong partnership.”

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