A down economy has given rise to a new type of business for the pool and spa industry.
Using a model similar to Craig’s List, AquaLiquidators.com brings buyers and sellers of
excess inventory together.
“The idea grew out of necessity,” said David Frakes,
who launched the site June 1. “Unfortunately, this will
probably be our most successful venture in this
Frakes, who heads up design and marketing firm IM3 in Omaha,
Neb., has created the business-to-business enterprise as a sort of
clearinghouse for distressed, discontinued or
bankruptcy-liquidation products and equipment.
In addition to typical pool and spa-related merchandise, the
site is designed to include listings for office furnishings,
display units and warehouse machinery, among other items.
“Ultimately, you may have inventory not because dealers
are in trouble, but to liquidate overstock or excess
product,” he said. “In the long term, I hope it turns
into a trading post for like businesses.”
It costs nothing to list or shop for products, Frakes said, but
the site collects a 4.5 percent commission from both parties if a
sale is completed.
If his name sounds familiar, that’s no coincidence. In
June 2008, Frakes helped launch the buying and marketing group
Recway along with electronics industry veteran Steve Bryant of Kennesaw, Ga.,
and Jesse Roberts, former owner of Roberts Pool & Spa of Omaha.
The group has fallen significantly short of expectations, and
critics contend it hasn’t shown much in the way of
Even Frakes concedes the venture hit a few snags along the way.
“This economy has forced us to revamp the Recway
model,” he said. “We’ve essentially taken the
‘buying group’ element out, so it’s now more of
an add-on … where we provide services like training videos
and marketing materials.
“The issue now,” he added, “is survival.”