In The News: June 2004

NSPI To Emerge As Two Entities

The National Spa and Pool Institute will cease to exist in its current form, according to Jack Cergol, the organization's chief staff executive. In his most recent statement to the NSPI membership, Cergol outlined a reorganization plan that, if approved by the court, will result in two seperate organizations: One will provide traditional trade association services while the other will serve as a codes and standards agency.

The changes are a result of an ongoing reorganization effort prompted by the association's August 2002, Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. To assist the association's reorganization, NSPI hired Tecker Consultants, a Trenton, N.J., firm that specializes in organization and association management. With Tecker's guidance, the NSPI staff and board of directors are striving to create a "new culture of service for members," writes Cergol.

While he notes that the reorganization is an ongoing process and is subject to court approval, Cergol provides an overview of the significant changes which are expected to be approved by the end of the year.

The trade association functions of NSPI will be subsumed by a new organization, the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. APSP will focus on four areas of service to its members: education, advocacy, promotion and research. The other organization will be the International Aquatic Foundation. Cergol says in his statement that the IAF will "serve the industry with a mission to develop and license construction, maintenance and operation standards, bestpractices technical information and public safety messages."

APSP's education efforts will focus on training and certifying more highly qualified technicians and marketing the value of the certification. As the industry voice, APSP will be most concerned with product liability legislation, tort reform, small business issues, transportation issues, hazardous materials transport and handling, and labor issues.

Public relations goals for the new organization center on using advertising and public relations to add value to APSP certifications and to recast pools and hot tubs as necessary household amenities.

Perhaps most significantly, APSP will conduct and distribute research designed to give members information needed for sound business decisions.

All NSPI members in good standing will automatically become members of APSP, and the two NSPI affiliates, NESPA and FSPA, will become APSP affiliates. Regional Service Centers will be established to deliver services tailored to regional needs.The nine RSCs (which will have the same boundaries as the current NSPI regions) will be staffed by directors who will be managed by the APSP national office.

The APSP board of directors will comprise representatives from each region and affiliate, and a representative of each segment advisory council: manufacturers, hot tub manufacturers, builders, service professionals, retailers, manufacturers' representatives, distributors and commercial.

Better Homes And Gardens . . . And Hot Tubs

NSPI's Hot Tub Council is partnering with media conglomerate Meredith Corporation to boost the image of hot tubs through a national publicity campaign in the Better Homes and Gardens' special interest publication, Garden, Deck and Landscape.

The campaign will target 450,000 Garden, Deck and Landscape readers. With 32 pages of editorial and advertising on the hot tub industry — as well as online and in-store components — the campaign will tell of the benefits of owning a hot tub with the authority of the well-respected BHG brand. With a paid circulation of 7.6 million for its flagship title, BHG has name recognition that few other magazine brands can match.

The campaign begins this month and will appear in three subsequent issues of the quarterly special interest publication. The print advertising also includes two advertorial packages created by HotTubLiving that will run in each of the four issues. The Better Homes and Gardens Web site, bhg.com, will promote Hottubliving.com, an NSPI consumer Web site, for three months of the campaign.

In addition to nationwide publicity, dealers of full-program sponsors will receive reprints of the advertorials to display in their stores, lending the credibility of the BHG brand at a local level.

The combined exposure of the campaign has a media value of $1.6 million, according to Lauren Stack, marketing consultant for HotTubLiving. She expects consumer impressions (the number of times a consumer sees the message) from the effort to reach a value of $4.5 million.

Manufacturers Master Spas, Zodiac Pool Care and Sundance Spas responded enthusiastically to the advertising possibilities and are full sponsors of the program. One sponsorship opportunity remains, and may be a shared position, according to Stack.

For sponsorship or program information, contact Pat Tomlinson at [email protected] or Lauren Stack at laurens@ hottubliving.com. 

SCP Posts Record Sales

SCP Pool Corporation, Covington, La., recently reported record net sales and net income for the first quarter of 2004. Net sales for the quarter ended March 31 were $234.6 million, a 19 percent increase over the first quarter of 2003. Net income was $4.1 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to only $1.5 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, for the first quarter last year.

Gross profit for the first quarter increased by 24 percent, to $234.6 million. A 16 percent increase in base business sales contributed $29.8 million to the increase, while acquired service centers and service center consolidation accounted for the rest.

"Our ongoing improvements in execution to provide increasing value to both our customers and suppliers, together with two additional sales days in March helped us to realize record first quarter results," said Manuel Perez de la Mesa, SCP's president and CEO.

Perez de la Mesa cautioned that while he's optimistic about the rest of 2004, it would be "premature" to change the company's earning estimate of $1.60 per diluted share. Wilson B. Sexton, SCP's chairman, echoed those sentiments.

"Due to the seasonal nature of our business, the results of one quarter are not necessarily a good indication of the full year's results," he said. "We must wait and see how the second quarter develops. Weather is all important, particularly in the Northern areas. Nonetheless, we are encouraged to begin the year on strong footing."

SCP Pool Corporation is the world's largest wholesale distributor of swimming pool supplies and related products, with 198 service centers in North America and Europe. For more information on the company's SEC filing, visit scppool.com.

Shows Grow

The Southeastern Pool & Spa Show and the Mid-America Pool & Spa Show saw an increase of both exhibitors and attendees at this year's shows.

For the third year in a row, the Southeastern Pool & Spa Show, held Feb. 3-6 in Atlanta, grew by almost 1,000 square feet.

Show managers said the year's show also included 14 percent more exhibiting companies compared with 2003. Fortytwo of the 140 exhibiting companies were new to the show.

Attendance at the show also increased by 8 percent, with 691 total attendees and 392 exhibitors.

The 2004 Mid-America Pool & Spa Show, held Jan. 22-23, attracted 135 exhibitors, a 25 percent increase over last year's show, according to show managers. More than 1,200 attendees also visited the show, held at the Pheasant Run Resort & Mega Expo Center in St. Charles, Ill.

GLB'S No Algae Part 2

After receiving positive feedback on its No Algae Guarantee program held last year, GLB Pool & Spa is once again offering the program to its retailers.

Through Sept. 6, GLB Pool & Spa will refund money on specific products if algae is found in residential swimming pools.

Throughout its No Algae Guarantee program, GLB requires customers to bring in water samples of algae-free water at the beginning of the pool season and every four weeks throughout the duration of the pool season. If algae does appear where water samples show that sanitizer and water balance have been maintained properly, GLB will provide consumers with up to $100 of Oxy-Brite (non-chlorine shock), Algimycin 2000 (algaecide) and GLB sanitizers.

For more information on this program, contact GLB Pool & Spa at 800/445-2059. 

Replications Acquires Splash

Replications Unlimited recently acquired Splash Technologies for an undisclosed amount.

Replications Unlimited, which manufactures artificial rocks, bought the business unit that provides water features to the swimming pool and water garden industries from Splash, adding medium- and larger-sized water features and self-contained waterfalls to Replication's product line.

Industry Icons

Two pool and spa industry businesses are marking significant anniversaries this year.

Robarb is celebrating the 30-year anniversary of its Super Blue clarifier with the "Diamonds and Pearls" sweepstakes, in which one lucky person will win a grand prize of a five-night vacation for two at a Ritz Carlton property.

For more information, contact Robarb at 800/445-2059.

Garrett Liners is celebrating its 40th anniversary of manufacturing inground vinyl liners.

The company began manufacturing liners in 1964 in Clifton Heights, Pa. Garrett has since moved to a 50,000square-foot manufacturing facility in Fallsington, Pa., and has added aboveground pool liners, water garden liners and pool safety covers to its line of available products.

Super Vision Acquires U.S. Patent

Super Vision International recently acquired the Variable Color Lighting System patent from High End Systems.

The patented Variable Color Lighting System features multicolor lighting for entertainment applications. The system has been used in color-changing lighting systems incorporating pulse-width modulation and variable digital control circuitry, which can vary the intensity of individual lamp elements to generate unlimited color schemes.

Super Vision says it will utilize the patented technology in all future development of its LED lighting systems for the lighting, sign, swimming pool and landscaping industries.

Richard Belliveau developed the Variable Color Lighting System in the 1980s.

Frogs And Free Spas

Marquis Spas is the first manufacturer to include the factory-installed Spa Frog System from King Technology as standard equipment on its line of spas. The company is also making available a new dealer program that provides its dealers with free spas instead of co-op advertising money.

Marquis says Spa Frog, a sanitization system, cuts bromine use up to 80 percent by using minerals to control bacteria and absorb acids.

"King Technology looks forward to building a partnership with Marquis Spas, a highly respected industry leader," says Joseph King, president of King Technology.

Marquis Spas is also offering free spas to its dealers as an alternative to a co-op advertising program, the company says. When dealer's spa purchases reach a specified level, Marquis will send a free spa with a retail value of $4,500.

Dealers have the option to use this spa, or proceeds from the sale of the spa, to promote their business. Marquis says most dealers will likely sell the spa and use the full retail value to offset the cost of their advertising and marketing programs.

For more information, contact Marquis Spas at 800/275-0888.

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