A pool cover manufacturer has launched a two-pronged campaign aimed at boosting sales and influencing future legislation.

Pool Cover Specialists President Bruce Grogg, along with Arizona lobbyist Reed Hancock, recently formed the International Swimming Pool and Automatic Cover Association as an avenue to assist dealers and educate lawmakers on the advantages of covers.

“We could use this association to create a really good push to consumers and legislators,” said Bill Pickens, owner and founder of Pool Covers Inc. in Fairfield, Calif., and chairman of ISPACA’s newly formed dealer board.

“If a large organization is promoting both the environmental and safety benefits — and it’s not behind any one manufacturer — that could really help the industry,” he added.

Indeed, with a nod to the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, ISPACA was created to lobby local, state and federal governments over what Grogg and PCS founder Wes Mathis see as forthcoming regulation of swimming pool energy use and safety.

So during last year’s International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in Las Vegas, Grogg and Hancock presented the idea to the heads of several other cover manufacturers. But the consensus, according to at least one attendee of the meeting, was that ISPACA was not something the segment needed.

Some balked at the $5,000-per-year price tag for participating manufacturers; others thought it was a service already provided by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals.

Undaunted, Grogg proposed the idea to 50 members of his dealer network at a meeting in Salt Lake City in mid-February. The response was better — most have already or are in the process of enrolling in ISPACA as member companies, Hancock said.

In fact, the association’s dealer board currently consists of nine firms, and an initial board meeting is scheduled for April, according to Hancock, who serves as president of ISPACA.

In addition to providing dealers with marketing and informational materials, the organization said it can finance any manufacturer’s cover. The only requirement is that they enroll in ISPACA as a member.

“No manufacturer can survive without providing a healthy dealer or infrastructure climate,” Hancock said. “So we had to ask, ‘Who is looking out for and addressing the needs of dealers? How are we helping them shape their future?’”