Retail Voice 2014: Hot Tub Sales Pro Harry Martyniuk

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Harry MartyniukHarry Martyniuk Owner Pioneer Family Pools Ontario, Canada

In operation for nearly 50 years, Pioneer Family Pools has quite an impressive legacy. Owner Harry Martyniuk joined the company with his brother in 1973 and took the reins in 1982. Since then, the brothers have led Pioneer into new territory and now oversee 18 locations throughout Ontario — just recently, the company was honored as the 2013 Locksin Thompson Hot Spring Dealer of the Year, an award given to just one of 700 international dealers who have demonstrated strong sales, dealer participation in events and marketing campaigns, overall brand representation and more. Here, Martyniuk shares his retail philosophy and how he gets hot tubs out the door.

How did things go last year?

2013 was a great year for us. We had great success in hot tubs, patio furniture and retail as well as increased revenue in service. Our pool sales stalled in the fall of 2013; however, we managed to match our sales revenue from 2012. Overall, it was a winning season for us.

How did last year compare to years prior?

We improve every year due to some combination of increasing revenue (by increasing sales, adding complementary stock, promotions) and decreasing expenses (such as those related to operations, inventory).

You were named the 2013 Locksin Thompson Hot Spring Dealer of the Year. How did it feel to win?

Fantastic! Our entire staff is really dedicated to making Pioneer Family Pools a success and it was really exciting to see them get the recognition they deserve. This award has elevated us to the same level as some of the best retailers around the world.

How has your strategy changed over time?

I don’t think we ever changed from our original retail strategy of giving the customer the best service we can offer at a price they are willing to pay. That’s where the value for price formula comes in: buy it right, price it right, establish the value and it will sell. 

What are you doing differently than you were a few years ago?

In response to what our shoppers are saying, we’ve expanded the price points we offer. On the hot tub side, we brought in the Fantasy line of spas from Watkins. When you combine this with the Hot Spring lineup, we can now hit price points from $2,999 through $14,000 with a huge selection in-between. The broader the offering, the more of the pie you can capture. It’s all about sustaining growth.

We are also paying a lot more attention to the training side of the equation from initial shopper contact to after-sale support. The only way to build consumer confidence is by understanding what the shopper wants, tie it to what you have to offer via product knowledge and have the right people to support the after-sale service.

On a dealer level, what would you say is the biggest challenge facing spa retailers today?

It’s taking that step of investing time and money in your people/staff. Too many dealers are too focused on the short-term cost and will forgo the long-term benefits. There are only so many hours in the day and you cannot handle it all yourself.  You need to rely on a competent, trained staff.

Any last words of advice for retailers out there?

Retail is a multifaceted business made up of a number of components, such as intelligent buying and inventory management, strategic merchandising and pricing, financial management, hiring, training, efficient store operations, customer-focused marketing and having the support and front-line involvement from your entire staff and management team to be able to execute effectively.

On the shopper side, you need to be able to draw them in, listen to what they want, match it up with what you have to offer and convert them to customers. And the next challenge is to keep them as customers. That’s where after-sale service and support come in.

It’s a never-ending cycle and one that requires constant updating and massaging in order to stay on top of the game.

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

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