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New Winter Pool Covers

by Dennis DiPaolo

I took a huge gamble this year.  It will either be wonderful, and you will all be very impressed; or a failure, and you will all be mad at me.  Plus, we could lose a fortune.  A very good friend of mine (and partner in my real estate company) is a national pool supply distributor to big box stores and internet sites.

His manufacturer of winter pool covers has been experimenting with making much higher quality covers – too good for discount stores and the internet.  I have been trying to find higher-quality materials than what we currently carry, but it has been impossible.  The American market is dominated by three importers who carry essentially the same covers, and have about 90% of the market among them.

So last winter, my friend and I designed a program to be made just for us.  We finished in mid-January.  Problem is, we should have waited for 2015, but I didn’t want to wait another year. 

So if they show up in time, here’s what we will have:  our least expensive cover will be about the same as it always was.  Our middle grade (about 90% of our sales) is over twice as strong as last year’s cover, and better than any cover sold by any store around us.  We also have a special top-end cover for special circumstances.  Here’s the thing:  no appreciable change in price!  Just come and look at the samples – you will be very impressed.

Our next problem:  we have a very large carry-over of last year’s covers.  It’s a function of the fact that we never run out of anything, and we stock three fabrics and 38 sizes.  So all of those are seriously marked down, to make room and cut down on confusion.

So what should you do?  Buy early and buy often.  The clearance ones are marked down so much that they are still a great value even though they are not as good as the new ones.  Buy early, because if it turns out that the new ones are going to be late, we will have to cancel the clearance and go begging to our previous supplier to sell us a tractor-trailer full of the old covers – without our usual discounts for ordering last winter.  Then the new ones will be a 2015 new item.

Right now, it’s too early for us to tell.