The economy is changing the way local spa vendors do business, mostly because customers are coming in more informed than ever.
"For sure, the economy has made a new, different shopper. Shoppers used to buy on impulse," said Shawn Maynard, co-owner of Bullfrog's North Ogden and Layton locations. "Now they are coming in very informed, after having visited many stores, and they won't pull the trigger that day. It's a new paradigm."
It may be possible that consumers know more than the salesmen, Maynard said, so it's important for spa companies to "stay on their 'A' game."
Jonathan Brady, office manager at Leisure Pool & Spa, agrees.
"The economy is changing business and affecting the way people are buying," he said. "You have to have a product to help you get through the change."
Both agree that their products are getting them through.
At Ogden's Leisure Pool & Spa, they are going chemical-free with the natural chemistry of purified mineral water. With built-in as well as after-market filtration systems, water treatment requires up to 90 percent fewer chemicals than traditional systems, Brady said.
Maynard said Bullfrog's exchangeable, customizable jet packs are what make Bullfrog spas unique. With 20 different jet pack configurations, there's something for every taste. In addition, Bullfrog allows a one-month "honeymoon period," where jetpacks can be exchanged free of charge.
Maynard said the economy has produced the trend toward "stay-cations," translating into shoppers willing to invest in their own backyards. Brady has also seen the "backyard makeover" tendency lately.
For families with young children and teens, Maynard said, soaking in the spa offers valuable face time with no distractions like TV and phones.
Maynard said that in today's economy, it's important to shop locally. Because Bullfrog spas are made in Utah, dealers can offer factory-direct pricing. With 15,000 square feet and 20 spas on display, North Ogden offers the "biggest, most impressive" Northern Utah location, Maynard said.
Bullfrog offers eight water care systems, and encourages customers to bring in water samples to run through their computer systems. Although Bullfrog offers water treatment service, Maynard said most customers, especially the money-conscious, are happy to treat their own spa water.
"At first, it can be daunting. But most people are happy to be taught," Maynard said. "It only takes about five minutes a week, and we offer support at our stores."