Another Olympic Record: We’re Celebrating 30 Years as a Hot Spring Spa Dealer
Here’s the story of how Olympic Hot Tub became a Hot Spring Spa dealer.
O.T. Neal, a partner in Watkins Manufacturing of California that made one model, the Classic, affectionately known as the “dog dish,” found our number in the Yellow Pages when he was on a sales trip in May 1982 and called us from his room at the Edgewater Hotel. The Edgewater is famous for the slogan “Fish from your room”. Tom was doing just that-for business.
The timing was perfect when he came out to our store on North Northlake Way which you couldn’t find, had no parking and was totally wrong for retail-but what did we know?
We had been selling cedar hot tubs for those first five years, but customers were turning fast from wood to plastic and we couldn’t find a high-quality plastic spa – until O.T. came. He couldn’t answer all the questions that Blair Osborn, my husband, partner and mechanical engineer, threw at him, but he promised that Jon could – Jon Watkins, who started the company with his brother Jeff. So we agreed to visit the factory in Escondido.
A couple of weeks later, we found the Hot Spring factory, a plain metal building at the end of country roads lined with turkey feathers in the farming countryside. They were making 15 spas a week with no assembly line, rolling the product on dollies from station to station to add jets, pumps, heaters and the other parts. Jon answered all the questions, and Blair proclaimed, “There’s nothing wrong with it,” the highest praise in an engineer’s vocabulary.
We were the first customers who asked for a test soak. We had to make sure this white thing that looked like a dog dish and used an ordinary electric outlet was comfortable to compete with the shiny gas-heated competitors in wood cabinets. It was more than comfortable. It was bliss. Not only that, but it stayed hot all the time for less than $10 a month because it was so energy efficient.
So we said we’d think it over.
The next business day, a lovely woman came into our store who had just moved to Seattle with her husband, a retired Foreign Service Officer. She wanted a portable spa to energize her grandchildren’s visits to their new home. She reasoned they’d visit more often if there was a hot tub to entice them over. When she saw the Hot Spring Spa brochure, she said: “Well, you’ve been in business a long time and have a good reputation, so I’ll take one.”
After getting over the shock of selling one so easily, Blair called the factory and ordered the required three units to become a dealer. We sold a second one before they arrived, and the other became our display. Since then, we’ve sold 17,542 + Hot Spring Spas to relaxed customers in the Puget Sounds area. Hot Spring Spas has become the largest spa manufacturing company, selling more than 1 million around the world and earning a reputation as best in the industry.
Hot Spring Spas has helped us thrive with their quality, innovation and unbeatable warranty. That’s why we’re still here to help you relax with your own Hot Spring Spa.
That’s why we’re celebrating 30 years of being a top Hot Spring Spa dealer. Thank you Hot Spring Spas & everyone at Watkins Manufacturing. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you! And, our 17, 542 + customers would not be as relaxed.
Relax for Life™
Author: Don Riling