I love that in this blog we can time travel anywhere each week. Now that the 2013 season has arrived, I couldn’t help wondering what the industry was buzzing about at this time 50 years ago. So let’s see what was happening in June 1963.
* Pool professionals were happy with the way the season began. May numbers were in and Pool News (as we were called then) declared on June 15 that “pool sales indicate a record-setting year ahead.” The stats were impressive, with Northeast construction up 25- to 35 percent in May 1963 compared with May 1962 – and Midwest builders reported a robust 40 percent jump in pool starts. Even Southern California, which experienced “the most sunless May in 22 years,” did better in the January-May 1963 period than in ’62.
* An interesting chart from the National Swimming Pool Institute (now APSP) was released. It showed a total of 420,800 U.S. pools in residential; apartment/hotel/motel; municipal; school; and aquatics facility settings for January 1963, with 288,800 residential. Compare that with January 1958, when there were 133,000 pools, 87,500 of which were residential.
* For drama, there was the national NSPI show. Cleveland was announced as the site for the Jan. 16-19, 1965, event and howls were heard across the nation. A regional group, the Swimming Pool Association of Southern California, protested the choice, calling for a West Coast venue. The main argument was that because the 1964 show would be in Chicago, it would be too much to have two cold-weather locations in a row. The debate got heated, inspiring four front-page stories in Pool News in 1963. An NSPI survey of exhibitors showed 77 percent would go to Cleveland, but most Southern California exhibitors would do so “under protest” and would cut back on their booths. The final verdict? The NSPI Executive Committee reconfirmed Cleveland as the 1965 convention site by late July. The show must go on!
* Also in '63, a four-man committee chaired by H.E. “Buzz” Hayes began studying the effects of regional shows on the annual NSPI convention. In the early days, there was much talk about whether regional shows should be ditched in favor of one big national show, but we’ll save that discussion for another time.