Last year Dave Cintorino
initiated a bold plan.
After more than two decades in business, he rebranded his hot
tub and backyard supply company to better reflect its diverse
But the economy failed to rebound, and on Aug. 6 Cintorino
closed the doors to Home Escapes.
“We positioned ourselves to grow, but the local market
just wasn’t there,” said Cintorino, owner of the
three-store firm based in Vienna, Va. “It got real soft late
last summer and never came back to any degree.”
At its peak, Home Escapes — known as Spas East from 1986
to 2008 — counted 22 employees across retail outlets in
Vienna and Leesburg, Va., and Rockville, Md. By its closing last
month, that number had shrunk to six, Cintorino said.
The end came within a year of a $30,000 rebranding effort that
included a name change, a third location, a new computer network
and Cintorino’s assuming sole ownership of the business.
He also had planned to bring new product categories into the
fold, adding home-theater seating and decks to a line that included
pool tables, bars and casual furniture in addition to spas.
Home Escapes was a sizable dealer of Caldera Spas, and a
spokeswoman for parent company Watkins Manufacturing stressed that
all consumers’ warranty needs would be met.
Among those stepping up is Hot Spring Spa of Washington in
Fairfax, Va. The company has responded to warranty service requests
from Home Escapes customers, said sales manager Bruce Grimes, and
expects to field more in the coming months.
For years the old adage — particularly in the mid-Atlantic
region — was “too many vendors selling too few hot
tubs,” Grimes said.
And the downturn in the economy led consumers who once purchased
high-end patio furniture to begin frequenting discount retailers
and big-box stores.
“For Dave, it was simply unlucky,” Grimes said.
“It’s certainly not because he wasn’t trying to
do things the right way.”