35th Anniversary

For those of you out there that loved that certain prehistoric family from Bedrock, the Flintstones, you may recall my all-time favorite episode. Its Fred and Wilma’s anniversary and Fred decides to buy Wilma a piano. As is usual, Fred gets Barney involved and the hilarity begins, culminating with Fred and Barney rolling through the streets of Bedrock while playing the piano and singing the Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary song! (I am sure the video clip is readily out there with a quick search!) Boy do I love that episode and I can’t celebrate an anniversary without at least humming the song and thinking of those two nuts at the piano.

Why am I bringing up this episode? Well because its anniversary time! March marks my 35th anniversary here at Eastgate Pools. So, queue up Fred and Barney and start the music. How quickly the years have gone, but thanks to great customers and great coworkers there have been far more good days than bad, and I am sure glad I made the change all of those years ago from one of the competitors to Eastgate Pools. Even better, a year from now I can sing Happy Anniversary to myself again when I celebrate 40 years in the pool business. Yes, 2020 will be 40 years. Wow! Where the heck did the years go? I am starting to think that maybe Fred and I were punching the same time clock all those years ago. Just can’t remember whether I had a boss named Mr. Slate???? Wilma!!!!!!!!!   

 

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Could This Be The Year?

Every year it seems multiple times per year hope springs eternal that this year will be the year. Whether it is the Reds, the Bengals, the Bearcats or the Musketeers, we have that undying hope that this is the year that one of them brings home a championship. As a fan this is almost to a point maddening as it seems every year something seems to derail all promise. This year hope once again abounds with the Bearcats playing well, the Reds making some serious off-season moves to contend in the division, but also FC Cincinnati joining the MLS this season. They drafted well, have a solid nucleus of returning talent, and a passionate fan base. The inaugural season looks very promising, and hopes will be held high that the city can once again hang a championship banner.

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Pothole Season

No one is ever excited to think of this ongoing menace of the roads, but if you think about it it is a good sign. The freeze and thaw cycles that open these kidney rattling asphalt craters are a sign that spring is just around the corner. As long as you don’t lose a tire or rim, think of this as a harbinger of spring weather soon to be upon us.

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Mother Nature

The calendar still says winter and Mother Nature seems to be playing along with this script, but anyone that has been around Cincinnati any time at all knows that with a seeming flip of the switch spring can be here. Need I remind anyone of the Polar Vortex a couple of weeks ago that was followed a couple of days later by a 60 degree or close to it day? A couple of things are certain, time flies and before you know it great spring and summer weather will be here. Its time to start thinking outside!

While thinking outside take a good look at your outdoor casual furniture. Is it worn out? Out of date? Uncomfortable? Just plain ugly? Worse yet is it non-existent? Rectify these problems and check out Eastgate Pools. The past few weeks have been a flurry of activity here as some showroom remodeling was followed by many sets of 2019 furniture finding their way to the showroom floor. Our selection of the latest styles and colors for 2019 from great manufacturers like Telescope Casual and Berlin Gardens is huge, but we also have a tremendous selection of 2018 models and they have been priced to move. When spring is solidly here, you’ll be relaxing in comfort and style!

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Salt system advantages

Most customers have heard of a salt system by now. The decision whether or not get one can be tough. Out of our last roughly 500 pools, all but 1 has gone with salt. The reason our sales guys push so hard to get our customers on the system is, ease of use. There is a rather large learning curve in the day to day care of taking care of a pool. The biggest and simplest thing that make it tough for customers to keep a clean sanitary pool is not being consistent with their chlorine levels. A salt system keeps the chlorine level in a pool automatically, so it takes the learning curve out of the equation. It sounds like keeping a constant level of chlorine in the pool should be relatively easy. Well, sorry to tell you it is not. We all have busy lives and its rather hard to keep an eye on the pool all the time. If the pool goes a day or two without chlorine, then an algae bloom breaks out. If you ever heard of the saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Well, that is the situation people get in when an algae breaks out. Except they don’t usually put in a pound of cure. They first go with a few ounces of cure and a day or two later 4 ounces of cure and the problem continues. To sum this up, if chlorine would have stayed constant in the pool, the algae problem never would have surfaced and the pool would have remained clean and inviting looking. Salt system simply do a fantastic job of keeping chlorine in the pool easy and will make your summer much more enjoyable.

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Friends

What makes a friend? Are they just like you? Or do opposites attract? This question came up the other night when my wife and I were playing cards with friends of ours. It was brought up that one of my best friends was so much like me that we could be clones. The clone part was a joke, but they were right. One of my closest friends and I are so alike personality wise that it is scary. But then I realized something else. One of my other very closest friends is just about the polar opposite of me. Sure, we have common interests and likes, but the differences are huge. Yet somehow despite the differences we have developed a friendship over nearly 25 years that is incredibly strong. I don’t suppose one should overthink friendship, but it is interesting to have two of my closest friends that are complete opposites. My conclusion? What really matters is that the person has a good heart and good character. Everything else sorts itself out.

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Some Fun Facts About Pools

Some Fun Facts About Pools

-Swimming became and Olympic event in 1896

-The oldest concrete pool was built in 1915

-The first filtration system was introduced in 1910

-Residential swimming pools became popular after World War II

-The US National Swimming Pool Institute was developed in 1956

-There are approximately 10.4 million swimming pools in the US

-There are 7.4 Million Hot Tubs in the US

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Evolution of Heaters

I personally have been in the pool and spa industry for around 25 years. A lot has stayed the same and a lot has changed. One thing that has changed a lot is the style of heaters one sees sold in the Cincinnati market. 15 years ago consumers did not have many options to heat their pools, it was either natural gas or propane. A little over 10 years ago we started selling electric heat pumps and since then every year we see the percentage of new pool gas heater drop in favor of heat pumps, and for good reason.

Gas heaters typically have a copper heating element. Copper is a great way to transfer the heat, the only down fall is that the copper in the heat exchangers begin to degrade and we start to see copper staining in just about all pools with a gas heater. This turns into a headache for pool owners because these stains are unsightly and takes a fair amount of chemicals and work to have these stains removed. High copper levels also cause green hair, just like the staining of a liner, copper when oxidized stains just about anything it’s exposed to.

Heat pumps do not use copper in their heaters. These manufacturers typically use titanium as a heat exchanger. Titanium is a lot more durable and does not stain, so it does away with a lot of potential problems. Another huge advantage titanium over copper heat exchangers, most heat pump manufacturers have a lifetime warranty on the heat exchanger as opposed to gas most gas heaters carrying on average a 2 year warranty. Heat pumps normally have no chemical exclusions as part of the warranty. What a chemical exclusions is basically voiding a warranty because the water chemistry in a swimming pool is not quite right. Mostly it would be caused be the water being too acidic but there are other reasons as well. This extra coverage gives consumers a much greater piece of mind, because let’s face it, sometimes people don’t do as good of a job as they should keeping an eye on their chemical levels.

If those reasons weren’t good enough to sway you toward a heat pump, I’ve got one more good reason. It save the consumer money, and a lot of it. Heating a pool is not a cheap proposition. What heat pumps do, is work with weather conditions that naturally occur in the Cincinnati market. The heat pump takes humidity in the air and condenses it. This makes the typical savings of a heat pump about 30% less than natural gas.

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Is It Time?

In May of 2017 I lost a very dear friend, my favorite dog of all time, Sunny. Sunny was a yellow lab that my family adopted when he was maybe a year or so old. Now Sunny wasn’t the world’s smartest dog, though he was pretty smart, and he didn’t have any special talents for catching a Frisbee or retrieving things, but what he had was incredible sweetness. Every human wash is friend, or so he wanted to believe they were. And in his mind every person seated on the floor certainly wanted him to sit in their lap and maybe even receive a few kisses from him. He adored people and was gentle even with small children. One of my favorite all time photos of Sunny was him curled up on the floor napping next to my grandson who was probably around 2 at the time. Sweet, loving and loyal were his strengths, and losing him left a big void in our house. But with his passing my wife and I found ourselves completely empty nested for the first time in 30 plus years.

In the 18 months or so since his passing, my wife and I have talked numerous times about whether it was time to bring another dog into our life. And it is a really hard decision. There is something to be said for being empty nesters and the freedom it brings, but I still walk into the house sometimes and expect to have my buddy waiting at the door to greet me. In my mind, I had the best dog ever and no dog will replace Sunny. But that thinking isn’t fair to the countless other dogs out there waiting for a forever home. So, I find myself starting to wonder if it is time to adopt again? I know that there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but it is harder and harder to not check out some of the adoption web sites. Who knows, maybe Santa will bring my wife and Ia new rescue lab for Christmas? Stay tuned for future posts and maybe some labradorable photos! 

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Interesting Times

This past September I attended buying group meetings and the casual furniture show in Chicago. The topic that was repeatedly brought up in meetings and while visiting manufacturer’s showrooms was the tariffs that were implemented the past few months and more which are potentially on the way.And the discussions weren’t just in showrooms of suppliers that are importing products, it was also a point of discussion in the showrooms of manufacturers who produce here in the USA. The bottom line is that everyone agreed that no one really knows the full impact yet of these tariffs, but before long the average American is going to start feeling the results in their wallets.

I am not here to debate whether these tariffs are good or bad, as I have heard news stories where American companies are praising the tariffs and are adding jobs and I have seen news stories where American companies are feeling the pain of them. But I do know that they certainly made the buying for 2019 very interesting. Besides choosing frame colors, fabrics, and styles, added to the discussions are when the orders can ship, will the product have a tariff, are there alternative products available that won’t be impacted by a tariff. Never a dull moment, especially this year.

Will the tariffs stand? Will a new round be coming January 1st like some are predicting? Who knows. What I know is that one of the morning news shows had a story recently in which the reporter predicted price increases of around 23% on many selected consumer goods. Time will tell and I will leave the arguing of the merits of the tariffs to the politicians, but as a purchaser I can attest that these are interesting times!   

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Spa Time

Over the past few weeks I have noticed a big increase in the amount of spa chemicals being sold. I think most people use their spas all yearlong, but I know from personal experience that the number of times I use my spa each week definitely goes up as the temperatures start to go down. Recently I had a day off and I worked out in the yard getting the grass cut, leaves picked up, and dead flowers and plants removed from the beds. It was a cold and overcast day, and despite the physical activity, I just felt cold all day long.I could never really warm up. Shortly after diner I had enough of feeling cold and out to the spa I went. Problem solved not to mention that the sore arms,back and knees from working outside all day received some much-needed relief. So,while I would encourage spa owners to use their spas all year, I so get it that fall is probably the very best time to enjoy a spa, and that explains the increased traffic in the spa chemical and accessory area.

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Why not buy a spa?

Why should you buy a spa? The bigger question is why shouldn’t you? With winter coming on it’s the best time of year to relax in a hot soothing body of water. You deserve the rest and relaxation that a spa can provide. We all work hard and sacrifice a lot to make the day to day things possible. At then end of that long hard day of work and stress you deserve a hot tub just outside your back door just waiting to massage and relax the days stress away. We all need a way to reconnect to those important to us. No better way to do that then a still quiet night in your spa with the first snow of the season blanketing the yard. So why should you buy a spa? Simply put no one deserves it more.

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2019 Season

With winter fast approaching, we have already started getting ready for the 2019 season!! Most of our ordering for the 2019 season is already done. We placed orders in September and October 2018. That may seem crazy to order that early, but this allows us to be fully stocked and ready to go early in the season. The orders include parts, accessories, pools and even Patio Furniture. So stop in early in the 2019 season to see some of our newest items!! Don’t forget we are open all winter long and open 7 days a week. Hope to see you all soon!!

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How Time Flies

As this pool season winds down it strikes me how quickly this season has gone by. It seems like just a few weeks ago I was cursing the rain, wondering how I was gong to get the backlog of above ground pools installed in a timely fashion. Everything just seems to be a constant motion blur for 7 months, and then just comes to a screeching halt. With the warm summer of 2018 it has already piqued interest in pools for the 2019 season, let’s just hope the weather is a little more cooperative and the season doesn’t pass in a flash.

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Best Of Times (For Sports!)

I certainly wouldn’t consider myself as being a sports nut, but I would consider myself a sports fan. I find this time of year to be especially fun. Baseball, which I love despite my Reds struggles for way too long now, is in its final stages of the season and I find myself watching World Series games even though none of the teams I was rooting for to win in the playoffs made it there. Then it is time to flip the channel and catch some college football. I am only a so-so NFL fan but for college football I find myself checking out the top 25 scores and then the local or regional schools to see how they are doing. With college games on 3 or 4 nights per week it is easy to catch some action for teams I might otherwise not catch. I consider it homework for bowl season where my wife, kids and now grand kids see who can correctly pick the winners of the most bowl games. The final piece of my personal sports love puzzle is college basketball season that starts very soon. It seems like just about any night of the week I can find a game to check out. I casually flip back and forth to check out the scores and if I find an upset in the making, I will keep the game on to see if David does indeed knock off Goliath! Yes, this time of year where baseball is still being played, college football is in mid-season and college basketball is getting ready to start is the best of times in my opinion.

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