2020 – Happy New Year

Hard to believe it is 2020. Seems like just a blink of an eye ago it was getting ready to change from 1999 to 2000. The worry about impending doom and gloom for computers. Y2K, I believe is what the term was. So long ago but so recent as well. Somehow life as we knew it went rolling right along and as far as I remember, I had not a single Y2K issue. And now it is 20 years past! How did that happen?

The start of a new year seems to be a good time to look back while also looking towards the future. For me personally, 2020 makes me think and reflect on two 40-year anniversaries. Anniversary one is my 40th year in the swimming pool business, having started in 1980 working for a swimming pool company located only a mile or so from where I grew up. At that point in my life, getting to work involved a quick ride on my 10-speed bike after school to work. (OK, the trip to work was quick as it was all downhill. The trip home wasn’t quite as quick!) There I learned to take care of the display swimming pools, stock shelves, and really just learn about working hard and being responsible. All important lessons for a young person whether in 1980 or 2020. Little did I realize when I started that job in 1980 that I would stay in the swimming pool business and make it my career. Its hard to explain, but the swimming pool business just got into my blood and even after college I really didn’t give much thought to leaving it.

40-year anniversary two belongs to Eastgate Pools, founded in 1980 and my home since 1984. Yes, in 1984 the very young and much smaller Eastgate Pools came calling and convinced me to join them and their rapidly growing swimming pool business. It was a tough decision leaving my after-school job of 4-years and coming to a much smaller operation. But what a great decision it ended up being and in those first few years at Eastgate I was given more and more responsibility and learned more and more about pools, spas, wood stoves, and more. Eastgate Pools had a great young core and the growth was amazing. The work was hard, but we had fun. It seemed like in no time at all we were outgrowing our store and warehouse. By now I was married with a family, and I further realized that I had found my life’s work. The year listed on the top of the calendar just seemed to keep changing and now without it even seeming possible, I am celebrating 40-years in the swimming pool industry while working for a company celebrating their 40th year in the swimming pool industry.

And the looking to the future part? Well I figure in another blink of the eyes I will be writing about my 40th anniversary with Eastgate Pools. After all, 2024 is not that far away!

To all those customers that have been part of my 40-years and Eastgate’s 40-years, and to the customers still in my future, a sincere thank you for allowing me to do something that I truly love to do.

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Mira Recreation Series

We have been carrying the Mira line of spas for about 10 years now. They have always been a popular sellers because of their tremendous value. Mira has widened their product lines extensively over the years and they have gotten better all time. Our standard Mira series has been our most popular spas for a long time but this no longer is the case. Our customers have voted with their money and the enhanced high flow jetting and mo re control over which jets the massage flows has been something the Mira Recreation Series has provided. With this line of spas one gets the quality of massage that one would normally expect from a much higher dollar spa. It doesn’t hurt that this value packed line of spas offers some of the add on features such as Blue Tooth stereo and LED lighting on would only expect to get on high dollar spa lines. If you are in the market for a spa, please stop by and take a look. If you do, pay special attention to all the large, high flow oscillating jets.

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How Do You Recover From Your Hobbies?

Recently for my 52nd birthday my wife bought me a propane forge. I have developed an interest in blacksmithing. After a short time trying my hand at my new hobby I realized I’m not as young as I used to be. After three or four hours of swinging a 4 pound hammer I sure am glad I have a spa to climb into. Maybe I should’ve chosen a hobby that was less physical but I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it near as much. I think having that hot water massage will allow me to continue with my hobby for a long time to come. What hobbies do you have and do you need a spa to recover from them?

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Coming Attractions

The weather is getting cooler and each day more and more pools are being closed. But that doesn’t mean that nothing much is going on around Eastgate Pools. After all, spring 2020 is closer than it seems and we have been prepping for it for weeks if not months behind the scenes, so to speak! In upcoming ramblings, I would like to start introducing some of the furniture collections and items heading to the showroom floor in the 2020 season.

In this blog, I want to introduce a brand-new item from Berlin Gardens, our Ohio manufacturer of the very finest poly outdoor furniture. New for the 2020 season is a very neat piece, the Comfo Back Three Seat Glider with Console. I like this item because in year’s past we would get requests for three seat gliders but rarely had anything to fill the requests. Not only does this new glider accommodate 3-people, but if only one or two people are using it, the middle seat back actually folds down and becomes a tray table with drink holders. Very functional and cool! And since it is from Berlin Gardens, we know that it is going to last and last with very little maintenance required.

The Comfo Back Three Seat Glider with Console will be stocked for 2020, but even better is that Berlin Gardens has lots and lots of available colors and quick lead times that will allow you to order the color you want if we aren’t stocking your first choice and you will still have plenty of time to enjoy your very comfy new glider.

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Furniture Closeouts

The weather is cooling down, but our patio sales are warming up. This time of year, one would think that the interest in patio furniture would start to slow, well this doesn’t seem to be the case. Customers are looking for quality furniture at a great price and this time of year at Eastgate Pools, this is what you will find. Management has two showrooms filled full of furniture and a lot of it has been marked way down. So, if you are the type of person that likes a great selection and a great price, now is a great time to stop by Eastgate Pools and check out our offers.

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Are We Going For The Record?

Let me start by saying that I am a Bengal’s fan, and have been my entire life.  After the whole “New Dey” emphasis during the pre-season, this regular season is turning into the same sad old Sundays. So let’s see if we can make the season memorable, like in 2002 or 2008 where we didn’t get the first W until week 9. Now in fairness the schedule makers were merciful in 2002 and scheduled a bye in week 7 so we only started the season 0-7 instead of 0-8. Even better how about we try to outdo our streak in 2010 where we lost a mind numbing 10 weeks in a row. If you are going to be terrible, be terrible at an epic and record breaking level.

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The Teabag Pool Cover

We discuss with customers the importance of removing the excess water from the pool cover, but I think we need to make people mindful of removing excess leaves as well. As leaves break down they begin to release tannic acid, the same acid that is released in tea leaves. Once the leaves fall and begin to degrade they begin to release the tannins. If you have a permeable cover (water can pass through) then you in essence have a giant teabag steeping into your pool. To prevent spring staining, and improve water clarity at time of opening remove the leaves periodically from the cover.

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This Date in Reds History: October 20th

Im sure some Reds fans know exactly what happened on October 20th of 1990.  But others may not know what happened on this important day in Reds history.  Lets just start with Jose Rijo was on the pitching mound for the second time in four days, and almost pitched a complete game on October 20th.  So why is October 20th so important for Reds history? Well, it was game 4 of the 1990 World Series, in which the Reds were underdogs going in to the start of the World Series, and they managed to pull off a 4 game sweep of the Oakland A’s.  All in all, there are a few reasons I bring up Game 4 in 1990: 1) it was the last time the Reds one a world series, 2) it was the last time Cincinnati had a championship team, and 3) will this important day in Reds history translate into another happy day in Cincinnati by the Bengals finally winning the first game in 2019?

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Cool Weather Companion

Mother Nature sure likes to play mind games sometimes! Just a week or so ago it is 90+ in October and the air conditioners are running full blast. A cold front moves thru and presto, there are frost warnings. I would say only in Cincinnati but check out Denver’s forecasts sometime and you will see I would be very wrong! But the good thing about getting back to a more normal for October weather pattern in Cincinnati is that it means beautiful cool fall evenings that are perfect for sitting around a fire pit or fire table have returned. Whether wood burning or gas, there is something about an outdoor fire that just naturally brings people together to relax and have fun. Need an outdoor fire pit or fire table, stop in to Eastgate Pools sometime and check out our huge selection of both wood burning and gas fired fire tables.

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The Nature Show Continues

A while back, I wrote about a family of hawks who have lived in my neighborhood the past two years (or maybe longer) and what a thrill it has been to watch them raise a family both years. Their nature show continues. The past 2 Saturday mornings as I get my day started with a relaxing soak in the spa, I have been able to watch the Hectors as I affectionately call them as they too start their day. Both Saturday mornings I was able to watch them fly away from their nest, sit high up in one of the trees in my yard, fly out of sight again and then ultimately return to their nest obviously carrying their breakfast. As someone who loves viewing wildlife, watching the Hectors never gets old. The fact that I can watch them while drinking a cup of coffee and soaking away aches and pains makes it even better. In my opinion, just another reason to own a spa!    

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Exposing The Jet Myth

Back in 2004 when I began my career here at Eastgate Pools we carried a brand of spas that focused on performance and durability, not showroom pizazz.  For cost reasons that manufacturer is no longer part of our product offering, but one of their fundamental features remains a constant in the products we’ve chosen to offer in the years since, and that is water flow.  We frequently have customers come in and ask about horsepower, and even more commonly the number of jets.  I won’t try to argue that jet placement, jet type, and even jet count don’t matter.  They do.  Number of jets, however, can be very misleading.

For frame of reference, I one time had the luxury of attending the pool and spa show in Atlantic City.  I saw a spa there with at least 100 jets.  Most of the seats literally looked like there was a jet to cover every square inch of a bather’s body.  While I won’t use this forum to get into details on how each jet differs, it is important to recognize that jets are not equal.  More importantly, the amount of water delivered by each jet can vary.  A greater concentration of water flow compared to the air mixture at the jet is going to deliver a deeper more therapeutic massage.  This more effectively takes advantage of the heated water.  Smaller jets tend to focus flow directly on the nerve endings.  That can have benefits, but generally progresses to an itching or tingling sensation.  Not the best way to relax.  So, when you’re looking at a spa it is important to understand that 65 jets aren’t necessarily better than 45 jets.  In fact, there is a good chance it just means you have more small jets and likely a diminished therapeutic experience.  You can have too few jets, also.  But remember that there is only so much water that a pump can move, so spreading that volume thinner amongst more jets is only beneficial to make the water bubble more on the showroom floor.  When in doubt, feel the actual jets to get a better sense of what the spa can do for you.  Also, find out how much water is being moved.  That is the only number that will give a reasonable number to compare from one spa to another.  We would certainly be happy to help you understand.

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Making Clear Even Clearer

Think your pool water is clear? It might be possible to make it even clearer, and I speak from experience. A couple of years ago I had the chance to try a 30 Day Clear Blue Cube on my own pool, and I became a huge fan, literally overnight. It was early season and my pool was just getting to the point of being pretty much clear. I added a Clear Blue Cube to the pump basket, restarted the pump and went in for the evening. The next morning, I was walking past the pool on the way to the shed. I did a double take. The water was unbelievably clear, and I became a true believer and a regular user. And I have made converts here around the store. Sometimes on new inground pool installations dirt from the construction will make the new pool’s water cloudy. My inground construction coordinators now come to me for a Clear Blue Cube to add to these new pools needing a little help in the clarity department as the past couple of seasons they have seen with their own eyes the amazing work of this little blue cube. Small. Powerful. East to use. Inexpensive. 30 Day Clear Blue Cubes really will make your pool water as clear as you have ever seen it.  

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When You Think You’re Early, You Might Already be Late

I’m in the middle of my 16th year here at Eastgate Pools and I’ve seen every kind of season you can imagine.  When the housing market crashed, there was a significant reduction of pool sales in the industry.  Lending institutions tightened their requirements and that nest egg of equity in houses effectively disappeared.   The last few years we’ve experienced steady increases, especially with the recent tariffs, and the demand couldn’t be any higher.  Each year we sell out of dates for inground pool installations sooner and sooner.  Combine that with historic rain fall and dates for installation get pushed out significantly.  If you’re in the market for a pool, whether aboveground or inground, there is no time better than the present.  We still have dates for installation on abovegrounds, but we are already scheduling for next year for ingrounds.  Stop in and see us so we can get you ready as soon as possible.

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Giving Tough News

In most cases, installing a swimming pool is making a family’s dreams come true. And that is a fun part of being in this business. What isn’t so fun is going out to install the pool only to find out that the yard cannot accommodate the pool for one reason or another. Sometimes we find that there just isn’t space or that there are some other conditions that make installing the pool impractical, unsafe or both. Even worse are the cases where we start the excavation for the installation and find problems. That problem might be hitting an old burial pit, rock or an underground spring. Dig enough above ground and inground pools and you find your share of them. Sometimes the installation can continue and sometimes it cannot.

When the installation cannot continue is when it isn’t so fun as most of us hate giving bad news. Telling a customer that the pool they have been eagerly awaiting cannot be installed stinks for everybody involved. Sometimes customers take it well, and sometimes not so well. The disappointment is very understandable. But in these cases, we need the customer to understand that we aren’t happy about not being able to install a pool for them as well. It is hard to make a living selling pools you cannot install, but Eastgate Pools hasn’t built a very successful company over nearly 40 years by installing pools in places or under conditions that don’t allow them to be built correctly.

Thankfully, it is a pretty rare occurrence that we cannot install a pool that we have sold as we try to address many of the possible concerns before the pool is ever sold. But it does happen, and when it does happen, hopefully after the customer’s disappointment dies down, they will realize that we are trying to look after everyone’s best interests.    

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Spas Are Not Miniature Pools

Pool water. Spa water. Pretty much the same thing, right? Wrong! Spa water is a lot different than pool water and there are several reasons why.

Number one is the water temperature. A pool generally will be kept somewhere from the mid-70’s to mid-80’s (Fahrenheit) versus the spa typically being kept somewhere from 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. These 20 to 30 degrees are huge in the chemical world. The warmer the water, the quicker the chlorine or bromine is used up/depleted. Chemical reactions just happen quicker at the higher temperatures. So, a spa just needs or uses sanitizer more quickly. Hot water also makes things like calcium a bigger challenge as calcium comes out of solution at higher temperatures. Finally, the warmer the water the more body oils and perspiration will be released by the users into the water. I know, it sounds gross, but do you really think you don’t sweat when you are in a spa or for that matter swimming in a pool?

The other reason why a spa water is different than pool water is the simple fact that you are talking way different gallonages. While a pool might need pounds or gallons of chemicals when being balanced or chlorinated, a spa requires teaspoons, tablespoons and ounces to treat. And here is an example of the volume difference in real life. Let’s say you have a 500-gallon spa, which would be a big spa by the way, and you have 5 people in the spa. That is one person per 100 gallons of water. Now let’s say you have a 16’ x 31’ inground pool with a volume of 20,000 gallons. The same ratio of 1-person per 100 gallons would equate to 200 people in your pool. Now that is quite the pool party. I think I will just sit in one of your chaise lounges and drink a beverage if you don’t mind.

So hopefully you can see that while pool water and spa water have similarities, they do require a little different treatment to keep them both clean, clear and safe for the users.    

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