Discount Pool Supplies

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

We have always been aware of the people who buy pool supplies at WalMart, Lowes, BJ’s, and other “discount” stores and then come to us for the free advice, water testing, and our Parts Department. That’s OK, but it has made me wonder why, as those other stores are on average, not cheaper than us. Certainly they may be more convenient to where someone lives, but over-all, they are not cheaper. Of course, as I discussed in the April Newsletter, some people may not care about quality differences. Some may not be able to see the differences, and some (particularly those with very small pools) might even be better off with weaker products.

I have heard some complaints from friends of my office staff, that we were ruining our company, or maybe its image, by our advertising that we had “Gone Discount”. However, I hope you noticed that we did not drop any high quality products. We just added a “store within a store” with new, cheaper products. We marked them clearly, that some “are just as good, and some are not.” We still did not bring in anything that was bad, and most of the chemicals were still stronger than what you generally find in “discount” stores.

For instance, our cheapest calcium hypochlorite chlorine (Poolife, Robelle, Target, Dritech) is still at 68%. Standard everywhere around us this year, was 47.6%. That makes ours last you 43% longer! The new Splash Econo Shock was the same strength as Namco’s Econo Shock, even though it was only 40% to 48% as strong as Target Super Shock. That makes it easier to measure if you have a 1,000 gallon pool, though it is still cheaper to use the stronger one if you have a 5,000 gallon pool.

A few weeks ago, Tod and I were helping a family who bought their pool from me nineteen years ago. The pool and liner are in great shape, but the pump has finally died. If they were going to keep the pool another nineteen years, they should buy another Starbright Pump for $360. However, their youngest daughter is moving out on her own at the end of the summer, and mom and dad want to travel next summer. So, the best answer for them is a $180 pump. We have it, and we have parts for it. While it is Chinese instead of American (like the Starbright Pump) it is still the right product for them.

So why did we add more products? Because we can: most stores are not large enough to economically stock four major brands. People who don’t have a lot of money should be able to trade at a good store, too. And, we are already helping them with the hard stuff. Why can’t we make a couple of bucks on the easy stuff?

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