2012: The State Of The Spa And Pool Industry

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Scott WebbAbout 10 months ago I wrote an exasperated column on the business climate in the pool and spa industry (and the country in general), wondering if we would ever see another flicker of life from our flat-lined economy.

Well, we have. Faint though it may be, there is a small, regular bump on the electrocardiograph of the recreational waterworld.

We see it the responses from this year's State of the Industry survey, and we hear it in the voices of builders and retailers — a perceptible increase in economic activity in the pool and spa business.

Nothing sensational, mind you. But the thing just lay there without moving for so long that any measurable movement seems dramatic at this point.

We're not talking about the service sector, of course. Maintenance in all its forms — from cars to homes to pools and spas — has remained relatively vigorous throughout the recession. But in a lot of places pool and spa retail and construction went into a coma about four years ago, and only now are we starting to see real signs of life and growth.

Still, that growth is so terribly modest, so shy and diffident we speak of it softly lest we frighten it away.

We've been used to the idea that when a recession is over, the economy comes roaring back. Not this time. This time we will claw our way back to prosperity, inch by inch. We'll grow a little bit this year, and a bit more next year, and if we can hang onto that rate in a few years we can all get together and party like it's 2005.

Scott Webb

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