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Winter Projects

by Dennis DiPaolo

The economy seems to be improving.  We made a small profit last year, and gave all of it to our employees’ Profit Sharing plan.  Jeanne and I are very confident in the future, and elected to fund a lot of improvements this winter.  Rather than close for the winter, or lay off most people, we repainted the entire store, finished doors, and repaired the windows.  Tell us how you like the new colors.

We removed the loud doorbell at the front counter, and added three quieter ones more spread out.  I know several of you didn’t like the old one.  Trust me, you didn’t hate it as much as we did.  We installed a video surveillance system.  It was not so much to reduce theft; though if we stop it all, that would pay for the system.  Mostly, we need to be able to see if you need help  before you have to come find us.  Now we can see if the cashiers or water testers need reinforcements; from Pat’s office, my office, the Parts Department, and the Design Center.

We had to make a really expensive upgrade to the phone system because it is fourteen years old, and no longer supported by the vendor.  When I was young, phones were free – owned by the phone company.  And they lasted forever!

Once again, six or eight new computers, water lab software upgrades, and a second colorimeter for every lab.

Rose has been doing a great job on the website, with something new every week.  Our plan over the next year, is to add item photos, descriptions, and sometimes prices.  The Patio Furniture department, Grill department, and Above Ground Pools should be finished by the time you read this.  We won’t be able to take orders online, but we will be able to do some orders by phone.  Everything will be for pick-up here in the store, or delivered by a delivery company that we trust.

Separate from the store, we are also financing a website that can take orders online, and ship them via UPS or Fedex.  We will put a link from our website to that one, once it’s working properly. The upside?  Online prices and ordering convenience.  The downside?  Some-times product quality isn’t as high as what we carry in the store, all of the chemicals will be completely different from ours, and we can’t help you if you have a problem.  Remember, buying online means buying with almost no labor costs (and no help).  Everything is done by computer.  For this year, the new site will only have pool supplies and parts.  Like every online site, expect that your purchase is disposable, or that you will pay a lot of money for a repair.  However, who cares if  it is a disposable item?