Let the Sunshine In

Cailley Hammel Headshot
photo of a sunroom with a hot tub
With a sunroom, hot tub owners can enjoy a good soak while protected from rain, excessive sun, harsh winds, etc. (And no more walking through snow!)
photo of a sunroom with a hot tub

For spa dealers, complementary products like steps, tables and covers are a great way to upsell a customer and thicken profit margins. The team at Fun Space Direct in Clinton Township, Mich., however, thinks on a bigger scope. In addition to Marquis and Cal Spas, the retailer offers sunrooms, pergolas, pavilions and more to offer protection, privacy and improved aesthetics for those who want to enjoy an outdoor soak more comfortably.

“The natural progression from buying a tub and doing what we do here with sunrooms, it’s a natural fit,” says Wally Ayotte, retail sales manager for the company.

photo of a pool enclosure showroom photo of a pool enclosure showroom
Fun Space Direct’s elaborate vignettes are ideal for showing off the range of possibilities for backyard installations.

To start, sunrooms are a practical choice for backyards, especially in the snow-heavy Midwest.

“When you’re in Michigan and want to use your spa, you’re running through ice and snow; it only takes a few times before you really get frustrated, but you can’t stop using your spa because it’s a necessary therapy,” Ayotte says. “So you do it for a year, and then you’re looking into what you can do so it doesn’t happen next year.”

Yet sunrooms are more than a sensible option. They present an opportunity for homeowners to transform their backyard without the expense or yard-gutting required for a high-end project.

“Our big thing right now is ‘the ultimate backyard resort,’” Ayotte says.

“When you go from the house to the backyard, you’re out there and exposed to everything. When you go into a sunroom, you get the protection of your home but the enjoyment of the outdoors. And those two things together bring about a certain amount of harmony.”

The enclosure also offers an impressive visual that can draw customers into the store.

“Putting a square box out there by the road with water in it doesn’t do anything to drive people into your showroom,” he says. “But when you put a beautiful pergola on top of it and you create a scene, people start coming in.”

While these backyard enclosures are a pricey category to break into, Ayotte says they certainly make it easier to get hot tubs out the door.

“If someone is looking to buy a spa, they want to use it whenever they feel like it,” he says. “If you don’t have a product that can let them do that, you’re going to have a harder time selling your spas.”

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

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