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 product line.
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.”