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February 5, 2011
From Pool and Spa News
By Ben Thomas

Phoenix Spas, known for manufacturing low-cost hot tubs, is winding down its operations after more than 20 years in business.

The small, regional business was based in Anderson, Calif., about 100 miles north of Sacramento.

“They were a great company to deal with, and their product was top notch,” said Warren Kayser, owner of Warren’s Expert Spa Repair in Chico, Calif., a Phoenix dealer for more than 12 years. “I’m really sorry to hear they’re going away.”

While the company has not formally announced the closing, and was not answering calls at press time, sources close to the leadership at Phoenix have confirmed that the shutdown is official.

The manufacturer now is working to ensure that customers who still have a year or two left on their warranty will remain covered, according to Phoenix dealers.

“They’re being very professional about it,” said Khasha Mekanik, owner of Black Pine Spas in Lynnwood, Wash., a former Phoenix dealer who continues to perform warranty work on its products.

Mekanik explained that Phoenix staff has put his company in touch with the original equipment manufacturers that provided parts to Phoenix, so he and his team can maintain coverage for those customers who still have a few years left on their warranties. “In terms of taking care of loose ends, I think they’re handling it the right way,” he said.

Phoenix was founded by husband-and-wife team Rob and Pam King in 1983. With Rob as president and Pam working as CFO, the company remained family-owned and operated as it expanded its network of dealers, mostly in the Pacific Northwest.

“I really liked the fact that they were local, and oriented toward local dealers,” said Chris Blackburn, owner of Mountain Pool & Spa in Willow Creek, Calif. “It only took a few hours’ driving for me to get out to their offices and talk with them in person.”

Blackburn adds that Phoenix geared its sales policies toward small dealers like him: “They didn’t have any purchase minimums, so I could buy as many or as few spas as I wanted from them.”

Though most major hot tub manufacturers have stayed afloat through the current recession, many smaller spa companies were hit particularly hard last year.

“Quite a few [spa] manufacturers and retailers have closed their doors,” said Sony Banga, vice president of sales at Strong Pools and Spas in Northumberland, Pa. “I think it’s going to take some time for (our industry) to bounce back.”


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