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Scott WebbIt's New Year's Day. Jan 1, 2011.

Volume 2010 has been labeled and placed upon the shelf, and another year is open before us at a clean, white, unstained page one.

What will we write?

Nobody thinks this will be the year the industry comes roaring back, and I don't either. It'll be another half step back toward the prosperity we remember in 2006. Some economic indicators have turned positive lately, but until the housing market sorts itself out entirely, until ordinary people can say with real confidence what their own house is worth, we'll continue to walk gingerly as an industry.

That's the high-level view. Closer to the ground, it's more interesting and confusing. Some of us are still hunkered down waiting for better economic weather. Others are out there trying to make their own.

One of my favorites of these is a spa retailer we write about in this issue of AQUA (see "The Mall Experiment"). He tried something bold in an effort to open up the local market. Yes, it was a bit of a risk, but you have to take a risk now and then or you never get any better.

I thought it was a great idea; he rented the most visible space in popular shopping mall, and moved the tubs in behind an enormous display window. Perhaps if people could actually see the tubs firsthand as they went into the mall, it might remind them of how much they enjoyed sitting in that spa on vacation last year. How they had the whole family in there together, and it was great.

Might start them thinking...

You can read about how it turned out on page 36, but that's not the point. The point is that this kind of enterprise, still very much alive in our industry, will lead us out of the economic doldrums.

Scott Webb

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