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

Recway, which is set to launch June 1, is composed of three principals: Dave Frakes, Jesse Roberts and a silent partner.

“We brought all of our experiences [to the table],” said Jesse Roberts, co-founder of Omaha, Neb.-based Recway and CEO of Roberts Pool & Spa, also in Omaha.

The group is designed to give small businesses the resources and advertising power to compete with big-box stores such as Lowe’s and Costco. It is modeled after successful buying groups in the electronics and appliance industry.

The concept for Recway began when Roberts approached Frakes’ integrated marketing firm about creating an interactive DVD to give to his customers.

“Before we got into what he wanted, we talked about why he needed it,” Frakes said. After Roberts explained the challenges of the pool and spa business, Frakes concluded that the old-fashioned marketing methods used by industry retailers were inadequate for the 21st century.

Instead, he suggested a high-tech solution to give pool and spa retailers the edge in their markets.

Recway is not a buying group in the classic sense. Instead, one of its primary purposes is to provide participating firms with state-of-the-art marketing materials. For example, by providing members with $100,000 production-value video commercials, the group is designed to give independent dealers the ability to build brand identity and achieve the look of big retailers.

Along with advertising tools, Recway also will provide customized, Web-based video training for sales employees and retail managers.

In addition, the group plans to include vendors and dealers from the electronics and appliance industry. Members of Recway will be able to carry products such as refrigerators, plasma TVs and rock speakers for the backyard.

“Now the dealer doesn’t have to say the sale stops with the hot tub [or pool],” Frakes said.

His firm, Omaha, Neb.-based IM3, will provide initial seed capital as well as the infrastructure to produce the videos and marketing materials. IM3 is a service provider for Recway and functions as a separate entity.

Frakes is heading Recway, while Roberts will work on vendor and member development. Membership will be limited to one dealer per market. A prospect is required to have a good reputation, clean showroom, excellent customer service and well-trained sales force.

“Recway will be the country club that everybody wants to join,” Frakes said.

For more information about Recway, go to www.recway.com