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Gloom to boom!


Owner of Almont Pool & Spa finds added sales through new Web site


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Ed and Marie Pask of Almont Pool & Spa have seen sales increase significantly since they introduced their Web site to out-of-state customers. photo by Tom Wearing.

April 16, 2008
ALMONT — About a year-and-a-half ago, businessman Ed Pask had grown painfully weary of the preponderance of "doom and gloom" stories in the media about the state's economic woes.

Rather than becoming yet another victim of Michigan's economic morass, Pask decided to change his business strategy.

The owner of Almont Pool, Spa & Billiards at 3519 Van Dyke, Pask began to consider the advantages of promoting his business to out-of-state customers.

By investing a larger portion of his time in a new business Web site, Pask has seen his bottom line quadruple since 2004, his first year in operation.

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"Thanks to the Web site, we're selling to people all around the country," says Pask. "I know it's been bad for a lot of businesses, but our sales are going through the roof."

In a state where swimming pool use is limited to about three months, Pask has prospered by marketing to clients in the nation's warm-weather states.

"We've been selling to a lot of people in the sunbelt and on the east coast," said Pask. "Those parts of the country are on fire."

Pask says his company's gross earnings have gone from $700,000 to $3.5 million. And he anticipates yet another good year in 2008.

"We sold 675 pools online last year," says Pask. "Our goal this year is to sell 1,000 pools. We keep hearing about all the bad news, but we're a good-news story.

"Our sales are up around 125 percent over last year's," he says. "We just remodeled our showroom and we've added six full-time employees; two in retail and four to work in our call center. We only had three employees at this time last year."

Pask's wife Marie says the business went through a challenging period early on and during the development of the Web site, but the time and effort have paid off.

"The Web site was a year in the making," says Marie. "It was tough keeping the store going for awhile. We've been fortunate to have a wonderful local customer base."

In addition to selling above- and in-ground pools and spas, the Pasks integrated the sales of game room and billiards products, which has grown at the same rate as the pool business.

"It just kind of blossomed once we launched the online business," says Ed Pask. "We realized we had to look at other revenue sources. So we developed a new vision and we've stuck to our business plan."

Pask stresses that things didn't improve overnight, adding that he is always eyeing new and better ways to grow the business.

"It's been a lot of hard work," he says. "And you have to be willing to change and adapt. But there's a huge, untapped market out there that we tend to forget about or neglect."

Pask notes that, whenever possible, he teams up with Michigan-made manufacturers and distributors. Among them are Carrom Products of Grand Rapids and Shelti of Bay City.

"We always try to support Michigan manufacturers and distributors of our products," he says. "Everything we sell is made in the United States. That way we know we are giving our customers the very best products out there. We believe in helping others as we continue to grow."

While admitting that the state's slow economy can't be ignored, Pask believes many businesses can benefit and thrive through the introduction of new technology and ideas.

"We continue to learn as we go, but the last year has been a lot of fun," he says. "We're adding good people to our staff, and we believe this business is in for a period of sustainable growth."

For more information about Almont Pool, Spa & Billiards, call Ed or Marie Pask or any of the staff at 810-798-7730. Or go to one of the company's three Web sites at: almontpool.com, acerecroom.com or bellyflopper.com.

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