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    Economic Indicators Index Drops

    The Leading Economic Indicators Index came in at 101.2 in July, continuing the trend of decline it has seen since January.

     
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    Housing Starts Hit Record Lows

    Total housing starts continued to fall in September to a seasonally adjusted 817,000.

     
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    Small-Business Optimism Creeps Upward

    The Small-Business Optimism Index reading for September was 92.9, the second consecutive monthly increase.

     
  • CPSC Leaves VGB Act Questions Unanswered

    With just a few days left before the deadline to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has released a statement that offered no clear-cut answers on whether or not non-compliant pools must cl

     
  • Las Vegas Expo Comes Up Aces

    In spite of a down economy, the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo was an unqualified success.

     
  • Hayward Buys CAT Controllers

    In a continued, aggressive commitment toward company growth, Hayward Industries has announced its second acquisition in the past two months

     
  • Acrylics Maker Lucite Purchased by Japanese Firm

    British manufacturer Lucite International Group Ltd. recently was acquired by Japan’s Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd. for $1.6 billion.

     
  • NESPA Drafting Model Energy Code

    To address a spate of pending and anticipated energy legislation, the Northeast Spa & Pool Association is drafting a model code.

     
  • Zodiac Charts New Direction

    Vance Gillette, viewed by many as a visionary voice for the pool and spa industry, has decided to leave his full-time post at Zodiac Pool Systems Inc. Instead, he will act as a consultant for the firm.

     
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    Line by Liner

    Package-pool builders and manufacturers are seeking to further blur the lines between vinyl-liner and concrete installations.

     
  • Photo courtesy Concord Pools Ltd.

    State of the Market

    Custom builder Mike Giovanone isn’t worried.

     
  • Photo courtesy Vyn-All Pool Products

    A Wrinkle in Time

    With intricate and vibrant new liner patterns, today’s high-end vinyl pools boast colors and aesthetics on par with many gunite projects.

     
  • Photo courtesy Vyn-All Pool Products

    Removing Wrinkles

    Remove debris: Before the liner is even laid out, remove any loose debris from the pool floor.

     
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    Thought Process

    In today’s highly competitive business climate, creativity can no longer be limited to artists and inventors.

     
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    Consumer Confidence Takes Nosedive

    After a small improvement in September, the Consumer Confidence Index fell dramatically to an all-time low reading of 38.0 in October.

     
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    What to do if someone leaves suddenly.

    If one of your best employees gives notice and it’s a complete surprise, some examination is in order, says Vince Crew, author of Keeping the Very Best (Lighthouse CCUNIV Publications Ltd., 2003) and owner of REACH Development Services, a consulting firm

     
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    Housing Starts Still Slipping

    Total housing starts continued to fall in September to a seasonally adjusted 817,000. While a 1.6 percent decrease was expected, new construction actually plummeted 6.3 percent.

     
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    Small-Business Optimism Creeps Upward

    The Small-Business Optimism Index read-ing for September was 92.9, the second consecutive monthly increase

     
  • BioLab Launches Franchising

    The launch of the BioLab franchise will enable entrepreneurs to open pool, spa and backyard stores under the “wknd.” brand.

     
  • Chemical Prices Continue to Climb

    After a series of price hikes in July, pool and spa chemical manufacturers raised prices again in October, citing higher raw material costs.

     
  • Economic Outlook

    The current economic crisis has been described as “unprecedented” and “historic.” Here, industry leaders weigh in, offering their own assessments of the situation and a few recommendations.

     
  • PIE Celebrates 22nd Anniversary

    The Pool Industry Expo held its 22nd edition in Monterey, Calif., Oct. 2-4.

     
  • PoolCorp Conference Addresses Market Downturn

    Last month, approximately 800 employees gathered for the second annual PoolCorp National Sales Conference and Trade Show in Dallas.

     
  • An Industry Leader’s Take on the Economy

    Challenging economic conditions have industry leaders pondering the current state of affairs and where the nation is headed. Manuel J. Perez de la Mesa, president/CEO of distributor giant PoolCorp in Covington, La., offers some insights.

     
  • Texas Prepares for Market Slowdown

    The Texas pool and spa market — once an area of relative strength — has seen new construction drop or even evaporate since the financial crisis began in late summer.

     
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    Playing It Safe

    Pool safety is, of course, a huge concern throughout the industry.

     
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    Rethinking the Cure

    Ideally, homeowners would stay far away from an aquascape under construction.

     
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    Squeeze Play

    Picture opposite ends of a pulley, where one side rises while the other falls.

     
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    Don’t let the loss of a key employee harm your business.

    Many spa and pool retailers are blessed with close-knit staffs.

     
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    Don’t lose valuable information when your employee leaves.

    For many mid-sized and smaller retailers, the owner and one or two other key people seem to know everything.

     
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    When the project is finished, it’s important for everyone to sign off

    Months have led to this point, and now the pool is nearly finished.

     
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    Housing Takes a Hit

    Total housing starts dropped back below the 1 million mark to a seasonally adjusted 965,000 in July. This is an 11 percent dip from June’s revised start

     
  • Arch Chemicals to Acquire Advantis

    Arch Chemicals Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire fellow chemical manufacturer Advantis Technologies Inc.

     
  • CEC Releases Proposed Title 20 Amendments

    The California Energy Commission has proposed amendments to Title 20, including the contentious subject of replacement pump motors.

     
  • CPSC Makes Error in SVRS Interpretation

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission was mistaken in saying that suction-blocking devices would be required on all residential pools.

     
  • New Combined Show Debuts in Las Vegas

    For the first time, industry professionals can enjoy the best of three shows under one roof.

     
  • Buying Group Offers Hot Tubs

    A new nationwide buying and marketing group has added a hot tub manufacturer to its growing lineup of vendors.

     
  • Phoenix Market Continues to Slide

    The Phoenix market, once a bastion of fast growth, is one of the hardest-hit areas in the current economic slump, with builders reporting 60 percent to 70 percent drops in new-pool construction since 2006.

     
  • Insurance Companies Lower Rates

    In response to tough economic times, insurance companies are scrambling for business from pool and spa firms, with many lowering their premiums.

     
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    Are you part of the ‘old industry’ that’s seemingly content to create mediocre holes in the ground?

    The pool industry is dying.

     
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    Diligent maintenance can help service techs prevent scale and calcium buildup in spas.

    It typically appears when calcium attaches to carbonate in the water and grows less soluble at higher temperatures.

     
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    Drafting

    The past few years in the pool industry has been a time of growth and exuberance.

     
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    Small-Business Optimism Slide Continues

    The Small-Business Optimism Index lost a point in July for a reading of 88.2.

     
  • Photo courtesy Texas Pools

    All Hands on Deck

    Though water gets the bulk of attention, it’s the deck that often occupies much of the backyard vista.

     
  • Photo courtesy Texas Pools

    Show Me the Finished Product

    Some products are difficult to visualize from a photo or small sample board.

     
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    Prep for pool visits

    Taking customers to visit completed projects will cut into your day.

     
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    State of the Market - Specialty Finishes

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

     
  • Powerful pozzolans

    As plasterers tinker with customized admixtures, pozzolans remain an intriguing ingredient.

     
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    Retrofitting Safety

    The recently passed Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act imposes, among other things, a Dec. 19 deadline for all drain covers (suction outlets) in public pools and spas to conform to ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 performance standards.

     
  • Shoreline Pools Conviction May Prove to be a Challenge

    While many in the industry are alarmed by the recent homicide charges against a Connecticut builder for allegedly constructing an unsafe pool, legal experts said the district attorney will have a tough time proving the case.

     
  • Photo illustration by Denise Baker

    Software Solutions

    There are scores of programs on the market tailored to streamline your scheduling, create dynamic backyard designs and organize your firm’s business operations.

     
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    Scary Story

    Recently, I visited some friends who had bought a new home in the years since I’d last seen them.

     
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    Housing Numbers Shoot Upward

    Continuing housing’s roller-coaster ride, the numbers shot back up in June.

     
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    Small-Business Owners Concerned About Economy

    The Small-Business Optimism Index dipped again in June to 89.2.

     
  • Photo illustration by Denise Baker

    Silver Lining

    Older shoppers wield considerable buying power.

     
  • Photo illustration by Denise Baker

    Creating a universally friendly space

    Older adults will represent a huge portion of the nation’s wealth and spending power in the next 20 years.

     
  • Photo illustration by Denise Baker

    Know your market

    Following is a snapshot of the 65 and older generation. This demographic has become the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population:

     
  • Pool Builder Charged in Entrapment Death

    For the first time in industry history, a builder has been arrested and faces criminal charges for causing an entrapment death.

     
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    Honoring the Masters

    Welcome to the 6th Annual Masters of Design issue.

     
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    Small Business Hits a Low

    After an uptick in April, the Small-Business Optimism Index fell again in May, hitting a nearly three-decade low.

     
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    Hoops Legend Bill Walton Set to Tip Off Expo

    Bill Walton once had a stuttering problem so debilitating that he could barely get out the words “thank you.

     
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    Fixing a Bad Marriage

    In our society, contractors are often regarded as somewhere between a criminal and a crayfish.

     
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    Housing Starts Perk Up

    After dipping below the million mark with 947,000 housing starts in March, the numbers were back up to 1.03 million in April

     
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    Tipping the Scales

    Don Goldstone didn’t know what he was getting into when he visited a client in Hidden Hills, Calif., in 2005.

     
  • Florida Primed for New Law

    Swimming pool pumps, heaters and portable spas likely will be subject to new energy efficiency standards in Florida.

     
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    The Workhorse

    More than 80 percent of Bryant Scallorn’s customers use sand filtration on their pools

     
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    The Mother of Invention

    It seems as if almost every industry member I speak with is having a tough time in this market.

     
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    Worth 1,000 Words

    Scott Burton knows firsthand the benefits of documentation.

     
  • First Federal Pool Mandates Issued

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission has released its much-awaited preliminary interpretation of the federal Pool and Spa Safety Act’s requirements for commercial pools.

     
  • Photo courtesy Brian Cullingworth Custom Pools & Spas

    Mastering the Pool Vault

    Vaults can solve a variety of pool “problems.” In a swim-up bar, a sunken vault resolves one common dilemma: how to put the “bartender” on the same level as the other swimmers

     
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    Believe

    Recently, I was looking at my 14-year-old son’s MySpace profile when I saw something that hit me like a sucker punch.

     
  • Industry Retailers Form Buying Group

    Pool and spa retailers have partnered with electronics and appliance vendors/dealers to establish a new nationwide buying group

     
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    My Friend

    On Feb. 9, Jules Field passed away. He was the former publisher of

     
  • Photo by Mike Warren

    Making Preservations

    Growing consumer awareness about global warming has prompted several leading retailers to rethink their sales strategies.

     
  • Industry Remembers Pioneer Jules Field

    Jules Field,

     
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    A Secret to Service

    Over the years, I've written a number of times about the importance of good customer service.

     
  • Clock is Ticking on Spa Energy Standard

    Officials at the California Energy Commission are losing patience with the efforts of the spa industry to help clarify the state’s Title 20 energy standard

     
  • Graphic by Denise Baker; photo by Leslie Saari

    The Cold Reality

    Building pools to withstand freezing temperatures brings unique challenges.

     
  • Photo by Mike Warren

    See Spot Run

    Few surfaces can match the sleek finish and smooth touch of fiberglass

     
  • Jandy Pool Products Acquires Cover-Pools

    On Feb. 1, Jandy Pool Products acquired Cover-Pools Inc., one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of automatic swimming pool covers

     
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    Falling out of Trouble

    In 2004, an elderly woman stepped into the strip mall parking lot in Rockville, Md., that housed Contemporary Watercrafters, a pool retailer.

     
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    Defining slip-and-fall accidents

    Some of the most common personal-injury cases involve slip-and-fall accidents in which a person slips or trips, then falls and is injured on someone’s property.

     
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    The jury finds...

    In these two lawsuits, the evidence collected from the accidents played a key role in the outcome of each case

     
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    Consumer Confidence Jumps

    After posting its first gain of 2008 in July, the Consumer Confidence Index trekked upward again in August to 56.9.

     
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    Economic Indicators Index Drops

    The Leading Economic Indicators Index came in at 101.2 in July, continuing the trend of decline it has seen since January.

     
  • Advantis President Steve D’Onfro Dies

    Steve D’Onfro, president of Advantis Technologies and an experienced CPA, died Aug. 13. He was 49.

     
  • Drain Cover Compliance Prompts Confusion, Concern

    With the compliance date for the federal Pool and Spa Safety Act fast approaching, many professionals are increasingly concerned about the requirements for drain covers.

     
  • Genesis 3 Debuts at Pool | Spa | Patio Expo

    The design education group Genesis 3 will make its first appearance at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo this fall.

     
  • ICC Vote Stings Safety Advocates

    In a major setback for safety-product advocates, the International Code Council has agreed to relax its suction-entrapment standards on new and existing pools.

     
  • IPSSA Expands in Florida

    The Independent Pool & Spa Service Association is making waves in the Southeast, adding three Florida chapters and acquiring insurance licensing in Georgia.

     
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    Tip: Targeted Advertising

    Rather than trying to reach a broad spectrum of consumers, we’ve begun focusing our advertising on specific groups or organizations in the area.

     
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    Tip: Brainstorming

    Because of current market conditions, we needed to figure out how to run our business smarter.

     
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    Tip: New Markets

    Lately we’ve been looking to increase our volume, so we added fiberglass and vinyl-liner pools to our lineup.

     
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    Tip: Expansion

    Even in tough times, we’ve always tried to look for the silver lining.

     
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    Tip: Going International

    We’re in the process of expanding to Mexico, and targeting the resorts in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun.

     
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    Tip: Creative Credit

    I believe credit is the single biggest hurdle at this point.

     
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    Tip: Teamwork

    We’re modifying the ways in which our employees work together, whether it’s in sales or construction.

     
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    Tip: Expanded Territory

    We have two offices in California — one in Sacramento and one in Manteca — that are 40 miles apart. Each covers a market that spans a 100-mile radius.

     
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    Tip: Bid for Benefits

    Recently, we decided to put our health insurance out for bid. We’re now looking at annual savings of approximately $150,000.

     
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    Tip: 4-Day Work Week

    Last year we implemented an entirely new scheduling system.