A new nationwide buying and marketing group has added a hot tub manufacturer to its growing lineup of vendors.

Omaha, Neb.-based Recway, which was launched in June, has partnered with Artesian Spas to sell hot tubs.

“Hot tubs really fit the Recway model because [the product] requires the most training out of just about anything in [a] store. We want to help our members through our training and marketing efforts to sell the category and drive customers to the store,” said Recway President Dave Frakes.

In addition to better pricing, the organization wants to offer merchandise that will help its members gain a greater share in clients’ backyards. Hot tubs are a perfect gateway for a customer who is creating a complete outdoor entertainment area, Frakes explained.

Currently, Recway has programs with vendors inside as well as outside the pool and spa industry, including electronics firms Panasonic, Toshiba and JBC Electronics.

Recway also plans to offer more than one spa brand, and hopes to encourage individual retailers to sell port-able spas from an assortment of manufacturers.

Indeed, one major difference Frakes has noticed between the pool/spa and appliance industries is that our retail stores are always dominated by one brand.

“You’ll see a dealer sell just Hot Spring Spas. But when you walk into Best Buy, you don’t see just Sony. You see multiple brands,” he said.

The president of Artesian Spas, George Hendricks, sees his partnership with Recway as a boon for his dealers.

“The industry is down; retailers need help. Recway is coming in at the right time. The stronger you can make the independent dealers, the stronger we all are going to be. Retailers need to take a more professional approach so they can offer more value to the consumer,” he said.

Recway currently is planning to have more than 1,000 products on Order Net, an e-commerce ordering system. When Order Net becomes available, members can purchase from any of Recway’s vendors items ranging from TVs to pool chemicals to hot tubs. It will help save time for small businesses that have only a handful of employees juggling many roles, Frakes noted.

The buying group also is working on a feature on Order Net that would enable members to take advantage of vendors’ promotions. For example, if Artesian Spas and BioGuard decided to do a promotion together, Recway could set it up so Order Net automatically processes the savings for the set amount of time.