Traveling is my passion and a life-style. However, many simply can’t travel year round due to obligations: work, family, financial, personal. For those snowbirds who still want to maximize summer bliss without breaking the bank, escaping summer heat can be done right in your own backyard. For animals, escaping the blistering summer heat is easy – if you live in Africa; if easy meant traversing miles of desolate terrain, droves of predators, all for temporary respite at the local watering-hole. Summer is a test of survivability, juxtaposed humans, whose biggest decision is hamburgers or hot-dogs at the next barbeque. Our opposable thumb advantage aside, Charles Darwin would be proud of man’s pinnacle of luxury and mastery over its environment, swimming pools.
Above Ground Pools: Not Just For The Kids
In today’s age of technological advances, many would assume inground pools are an optimal path to pool ownership, however numbers don’t lie. Since 1974 Rec Warehouse has sold over 250,000 above ground swimming pools. As a person who travels regularly, a permanent, large financial decision such as an inground pool would be very difficult to justify. Cost represents a very high barrier to entry, as it’s a recreational expense. Ironically the same impetus which kept home buyers from investing heavily into an inground-pool birthed the business started by two brothers, Gary and Don Doebler. When working in the pool industry they saw a void in the marketplace. People wanted the benefits of a pool, but not all the down-sides associated with an inground pool: contractors (permits), time, costs, and safety.
Contractors/Permits: Permanent structures require planning, contractors and permits. Building in the winter or spring (ready in time for the summer) is uncertain as frost delays projects and hardens the ground. With multiple weeks of planning, building and township permits, breaking ground may be the start to a project, but certainly not the end. Above ground pools are often pre-assembled into large components, requiring very little time on-site; professional installation is also an option for the busy home-owner who doesn’t have time to build their own above ground pool.
Costs: According to Home Advisor, as of 2017 it costs on average between $31,450 – $50,894 versus a RecWarehouse above ground pool which can cost less than $500 (not including installation). With pricing literally 100x cheaper, cost is a significant factor as a cost benefit analysis, affirms an above ground pool offers multiple benefits of an inground pool: leisure, heat mitigation, swimming, with very little drawbacks, primarily aesthetics.
Safety: Pools can be dangerous; every day 10 people die from pool related accidents, 58% inground pools. Parent supervision aside, above ground pools are more difficult to access for young children. They have to climb steps and unlock a gate, versus inground pools which are, by their nature, lower to the ground, allowing small children to enter them (assuming a gate isn’t fastened or climbable).
Convenience, Volume, and Family Tradition
(Rec Warehouse, Kennesaw, Georgia, left to right: Bob, Tim, Adam)
Rec Warehouses business model has progressed and adapted over the years, yet their core focus has always remained above ground pools; while pools are the product, quality, family tradition, invested employees and happy customers are the modality of success. As a family owned business, Gary and Don Doebler bequeathed Rec Warehouse to Don’s son, David Doebler. Uncle Gary and father Don instilled a strong worth ethic as Dave grew into a young man, learning every facet of the business from the ground up. With 3 current locations across Georgia in Kennesaw, Norcross and Jonesboro, the company has become leaner and adapted to national demands for high quality products, free shipping, and real world locations. While other pool companies are seasonal (no pun intended) or fly-by night, Rec Warehouse has stood the test of time, 43 years, a testament to quality, fair pricing, and customer satisfaction. The once young man, Dave, is now a grown adult, with 3 children of his own, helping manage the refocused, growth oriented business. While the core business of pools, spas, pool tables and saunas have remained primarily in-person purchases, the company has fully embraced digital ecommerce, under Bigcommerce selling thousands of pool parts and accessories to customers spanning the United States from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida.
As one of the largest retailers of above ground pools, Rec Warehouse business model is based on volume, not gross. With tight margins, the company is able to pass savings onto its customers. Whether manufacturing in-house or partnering with the best manufacturers, they are for lack of a better phrase, the Walmart of Above Ground Pools. While the internet has clearly altered the business since 1974, the team in Kennesaw, featuring Bob, Tim, and Andrew (photo above) prove people still want to do business with people. High employee retentions, benefits and a family atmosphere translates to well-treated customers, educated, never sold, as the business model thrives on transparent pricing, not inflated margins; an unfortunate subsistent reality of many pool contractors today. With roots in North Tonawanda, New York, Rec Warehouse is a global company with a commitment to its core base – Georgia. The family is actively involved in local community events, businesses, charities and provides business to business transactions: pool tables, spas, saunas accessories to other businesses. Rec Warehouse stands by its owners, employees, and its valued customers who have made it the success it is today. Seasonal purchases or online buying can be a tenuous process of mistrust and confusion. Rec Warehouse has earned its clients business and respect of its competitors through quality, in depth industry knowledge and an impeccable reputation.