A new year is here and you know what that means. New Year’s resolutions and football, sure, but there’s also the custom of reflecting on the year just past. I’d like to mix it up a little and see what was happening 30 years ago -- and if any parallels can be drawn between 2013 and 1983.
* Franchising:PSN ran several stories in 2013 about service firms embracing franchising. But in July 1983, an article began thusly: “For the pool and spa industry, franchising is an idea whose time has come – and gone.” Reasons given: a dislike of the controls and/or the reports. A biggie: The franchise laws required franchisers to provide so much financial information to potential franchisees that it made privately held companies too nervous. How things change.
* Spa pros unite: The forming and reforming of groups, especially in the spa sector, has occurred over the years. For example, in February 1983, the independent Spa and Tub Dealers’ Council was formed to give spa retailers a greater industry voice. Later that year, a group called the International Spa & Tub Institute merged with NSPI (now APSP). In December 2013, yet another group, the International Hot Tub Association (est. 2008), merged with APSP. As part of the move, APSP’s Hot Tub Council will dissolve, but some board members will serve on the new IHTA Board.
* Oddities: Among the news stories coming out in ’83, was the CDC report about two competitive swimmers whose teeth were actually dissolving due to frequent swimming in a health club pool sanitized with chlorine gas. The improperly maintained water had a pH of 2.7, an acid concentration about 100,000 times that recommended for pools. In October 1983 came word that a jury awarded $265,000 to two models who said they got a serious staph infection from hopping in and out of a spa during a demo at a Miami home show. Perhaps the most bizarre: A 1983 report in Journal of the American Medical Association claimed herpes viruses can survive up to 4.5 hours on warm moist surfaces, such as plastic chairs and benches next to spas or hot tubs. The CDC said that was highly unlikely, but to this day, worried soakers still discuss that one.