While many places in the nation were enduring record snowfalls, Southern California was experiencing record-breaking heat and strong Santa Ana winds. Such conditions often mean pool-service technicians will be extra-busy. When such weather occurs during the service-oriented Western Pool & Spa Show, as it did on March 12-14, 2015, organizers are understandably worried that it might affect attendance.
Turns out, they needn’t have been.
Even as the sun beat down and temperatures in Los Angeles County climbed into the 90s, technicians and builders filled the aisles at the Long Beach Convention Center during the 37th annual show, checking out the latest products and attending the 84 technical and business seminars.
“I thought when it turned hot, we wouldn’t get crowds,” said Peter Haverlation, WPSS vice president and owner of Peter’s Pool Service in North Hills, Calif. “I was surprised we did as well as we did.”
Though final attendance figures hadn’t been tallied by press time, indications suggested that organizer expectations weren’t far off.
“People went nuts for education this year,” Haverlation said. “We had 900 WPSS bags [to hand out to] people in seminars and we ran out.”
Indeed several sessions were standing room only, such as chemistry and repair classes, as well as the one Haverlation led, titled “Tips & Tricks for the New Pool Professional.”
One of those seminar students was Richard Figueroa, who was particularly interested in heater and pool topics. He and wife Corinne, owners of Pool Pura, LLC, a service/building firm in La Canada Flintridge, Calif., have gone to WPSS several times over the past four years.
Besides classes, the Figueroas like to explore the exhibit hall, discovering new products. This year brought its own haul, with Corinne buying a software program for billing and accounting, while Richard found a new pump that consumers began responding to the very next week.
For first-time WPSS attendee Doug Schmidt, the show had “everything you’d need.” The Orange, Calif.-based pool repair specialist also was there primarily to scope out new products, particularly the chemical offerings.
Meanwhile, 20-year attendee Marco San Giuliano, the owner of Giuliano’s Pool Service & Repair Inc. in Glendora, Calif., investigates recent innovations, but also takes the opportunity to speak with vendors about his experiences with their products and to suggest improvements.
With such attendee interest in products, it’s not surprising that the New Product Showcase also was a popular spot on the show floor.
The nine-hole putting green, where golf enthusiasts could play for $5, continued to draw players in.
Every year, proceeds are split, with half going to the overall golf winner and half to the California Pool & Spa Association, the legislative advocate for the state’s pool and spa industry. This year there was $600 to split.
But the truck giveaway, taking place at the end of the final day, once again proved to be the crowd favorite.
This year, the lucky service technician was Dave Proctor of Pool Service Brothers, based in Porter Ranch, Calif. He is now the proud owner of a black Dodge Ram 1500 pickup.