Spring Report

Friday, April 25th, 2008

by Dennis DiPaolo

How’s business?  I hear that question more and more since last fall.  Friends, customers, vendors, other retailers – everyone is so concerned.  At the annual meeting of The Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire in February, retailers of every sort were talking about layoffs, smaller budgets, and even national stores who are behind on their dues.  For us, though, the answer is: just fine.

We finished last year ahead of 2006 and we’re on schedule to pay off our mortgage in the middle of next year.  While discretionary spending may be a little soft, we gain the trust of more and more pool supply customers every year.  Caring for pool and spa owners is our primary business, and that continues to grow.  So thank you all for your support

We are not cutting back, and we’re not slowing down.  We stayed busy this winter with training, organizing our customer list, improving our store and warehouse, and creating some focused mailings to pool,  spa, and billiard customers produced entirely in-house.
Jeanne finished painting birds and flowers in the solarium, and Victor repainted the faux brick patio in the hot tub testing room.  It used to look like something my Dad and I built at home when I was twelve.  Now it has a more “Hollis” look.

Our big project was a giant new room in the middle of the store.  Hot tub shoppers had been bothered by the noise and traffic all around them, particularly compared to hot-tub-only stores that are comparatively calm.  Kip was dying for more shelves, as we keep adding new parts and new products to the pool store.  In a series of team meetings we decided that building soundproof walls, with built-in shelves on the pool-store side, would solve both problems at once.  We built everything ourselves.  Next winter, we will probably add a deck.

Unfortunately for some of you, the shortcut to the Water Lab is now gone.  The original shortcut was 29 steps, but you had to zigzag through the spas.  Going around is 37 steps, but it’s faster: like taking the highway instead of Main street.  Use the extra time to stop at the coffee bar.  The extra 5 calories you just burned will cover the cream in your coffee!

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