A HOT TUBS company has smashed predicted records as warm weather coupled with the Coronavirus lockdown led to a surge in sales.
And Gareth Jones, Managing Director of UK Leisure Living – a past winner and runner up for Spa Retailer of the UK – is encouraging people to support local firms when restrictions are lifted as the hospitality and tourism industry in particular will take a long time to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
The St Asaph and Mochdre-based business was 70% up on sales in comparison to the previous April, and May has been the busiest ever for the company.
Having opened a new swimspa centre just weeks before the pandemic struck the UK, Gareth says they are fortunate the hot tubs sector has received a positive response but is concerned for other local organisations.
“The weather has certainly helped us, and the fact we work with different brands and suppliers means we have a steady flow of hot tubs coming into the warehouse and going out to customers,” he said.
“We are applying social distancing laws when installing and to be honest it’s like any other mail order process, we’re just there slightly longer.”
He added: “Ultimately, the whole industry has seen an increase in demand and while some will say it’s not an essential service the counter-argument is that having a hot tub – and they are a wide range of options, so it’s not as expensive as many people think – is a distraction and an escape for people at this challenging time
“For physical and mental health, it can be beneficial, and now more than ever that is vital.”
With people cancelling summer holidays abroad to stay in the UK and at home, the trend will continue in the months ahead.
“For most of us we are going to be in the UK enjoying the garden this summer, so if having a hot tub makes them happy during a ‘staycation’ then that can only be a good thing,” said Gareth, whose company was listed in the top five businesses in North Wales and 21st in Wales at the Fast Growth 50 Awards.
“For any customers who are concerned about self-isolation and distancing we have online tutorials and consultations or can even host a video conference to explain how to use and maintain the hot tub.”
Gareth’s business was due to hold the second Hot Tub Expo in May but has been postponed until September.
“The Hot Tub Expo is the only consumer hot tub show in the UK and it’s right here in North Wales, so we look forward to announcing the new date very soon,” he added.
There were plans for more stands and exhibitors given the increase in space at UK Leisure Living’s Mochdre showroom site to over 5,500 sq ft, but Gareth plans to evaluate the situation later in the year due to new guidelines from the events industry.
“Like every business out there, we are taking each day as it comes,” he said.
“We’ve been offering discounts – notably to NHS workers – and had competitions including giving away a hot tub, anything to try and help people, as well as keeping business going and our staff in work.
“Of course it’s great for us to be busy and have such positive sales but ultimately it’s good for the economy and when restrictions ease it’s so important we get behind our local businesses, in tourism and all sectors, because they’re going to need us more than ever. I hope people will think local.”
He added: “It’s the local business people who support the community, sponsor local sports teams, raise money for local charities, employ local people who in turn spend their money in the region and contribute to the local economy, so please help them when they open their doors again.”