Despite late start, pool dealers optimistic

Local swimming pool dealers are optimistic 2013 will be a good year.

“We are so weather oriented. If the weather cooperates, the opportunity is there for a good pool season. The money is available for people to spend but if they are not thinking about it the cool, wet weather doesn’t help us,” said Randy Colyer, owner of Greenwood Pools and Spas, Altoona.

“If the early orders are any indication, I am expecting a good year. We are off to a good start. People want to buy things they have been putting off, not only are they building pools but are refurbishing their pools as well,” said Nancy Sutton, co-owner of Holiday Pools and Spas, Hollidaysburg. “People are opening their wallets and spending more money on fun this year.”

Colyer said sales were up at his business in 2012.

“I would say our sales were up a little last year, a couple percent increase over the previous year,” Colyer said. “The economy in the Blair County region never gets the big highs and lows. We’ve seen steady growth as far as our business; the economy hasn’t taken a big downturn in our area.”

According to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, in-ground pool sales dropped from 176,000 in 2005 to 55,000 in 2011, a drop of 68.8 percent.

Above-ground pool sales dropped from 222,000 in 2006 to 130,000 in 2009 but above-ground pool sales are making a comeback increasing to 155,000 in 2011.

Above ground pools are the most popular in the local area because of the lower cost.

“You can have a nice new pool installed without strapping the family budget,” Colyer said.

An above-ground pool typically sells from $5,000 to $8,000 while an in-ground pool can range in cost from $25,000 to $50,000 or more.

Spas or hot tubs have become even more popular, according to APSP. In 2012 there were 7,442,000 hot tubs in the United States compared to 5,426,000 in-ground pools and 5,147,780 above-ground pools.

“Spa sales probably make up about 15 to 20 percent of our business. They have done well over the last few years,” Colyer said.

“Pools are our predominant business. Spas had decreased in demand but this spring they are up again,” Sutton said.

Both Colyer and Sutton said they are behind with their installation work as a result of the lingering winter-like weather.

“We have a lot of work [installations] carried over from last year. The store business has been a little slower because of the cold weather,” Colyer said. “We started installations last year around the second week of March but didn’t get started this year until April.”

“We are about two weeks behind in installations, but we can do things in the rain,” Sutton said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.