Watkins Manufacturing Corp. is the latest firm to publicly embrace the health and wellness movement.
The Vista, Calif.-based hot tub producer has rebranded itself as Watkins Wellness. Included are a new logo and tagline. Formerly known as “The Home Relaxation Specialists,” the firm adopted the motto “Feel Good. Live Well.”
The change comes in recognition of the health benefits that accrue from regular use of hot tubs.
“We’ve been thinking about that for a long time, and we believe that we are a manufacturer and marketer of well-being products for at-home use,” said Watkins Wellness President Steve Hammock. “That being the case, the alliteration of ‘Watkins’ and ‘Wellness’ was very attractive to us.”
Watkins Manufacturing will remain the corporate name, while Watkins Wellness is the DBA. “But we think it did a great job of defining who we are and what we’re trying to do going forward,” said Hammock.
The name change also follows the manufacturer’s acquisition of Endless Pools last year, which brought the company into the fitness realm with its current pools, including aboveground, residential and commercial-grade models, along with swim spas, aquatic treadmills and deeper wells for aquatic exercise and therapy.
With that purchase, Watkins divided the company into global spa and aquatic fitness categories.
“It made sense to put a different umbrella over the two businesses that we operate,” Hammock said.
Watkins is only the most recent aquatics organization to recognize the wellness trend in the industry. Last year, one of Europe’s largest trade events, Piscina, expanded its name to Piscina & Wellness Barcelona. It also showcased “The Wellness Experience” as the show floor’s centerpiece attraction. A score of collaborating companies created a fully equipped recreation center, complete with an active pool, spas, saunas and various treatment booths, to showcase the latest products.
The wellness theme surfaced again with last year’s historic merger between Genesis, the education and design organization, and the National Swimming Pool Foundation.
“When we merged with the foundation, we appreciated the fact that not only is the foundation highly in tune with the concept of wellness as it relates to pools and spas, but in fact, [they] had documented, credible research that proved that the immersion of bodies in water in different ways had tremendous positive effects,” said Brian Van Bower, ambassador and co-founder of Genesis.
“We always had that outlook, and then to end up merging with the foundation, who had a similar take on the wellness part of it — seemed like a perfect scenario,” he added.
Genesis is promoting the wellness theme in a variety of ways. The plan includes integrating regular blogs and web updates on the latest research in the area of wellness, Van Bower said.
The wellness concept has trickled down to the retail level as well, where it has had a huge impact on the products that retailers are selling.
David Ghiz, owner of Imagine Backyard Living in Scottsdale, Ariz., began his operation about two years ago with the wellness concept already in mind.
“The whole business model was built around [wellness],” Ghiz said. “... That’s where [consumers’] minds are going.”
He has noticed a trend toward purchases of hot tubs and swim spas, which customers are using to relax and get into better shape. These products also allow people to have their needs met without the higher installation and maintenance costs associated with a backyard pool. And because it’s best to relax and exercise every day, the year-round versatility of hot tubs and swim spas isn’t wasted on the end user either.
This focus on wellness has been reflected in the bottom line of Ghiz’s operation, he said.
“It‘s what they want,” Ghiz said. “They want a nice backyard [where] they can get their mental and physical wellness all in one spot.”