By Jason Cramp
Since acquiring Central Spa & Pool Supply, a spa and pool parts and accessories business located in Midland, Ont., last year, Rob Pagliaro, 43, is not only determined to uphold the company’s trusted service reputation—which was established by the original founders Peter and Lynda Wolfhard—but also to look for new opportunities to continue the company’s growth.
As part of this transition, Pagliaro redesigned the company’s octopus logo, which its customers have come to know, by adding some colour and a few more tentacles to reflect the company’s commitment to the industry. Another new initiative was the recent launch of Central Spa & Pool Supply’s new website, which enables dealers to log in to its 24-7 online store to order products.
“We realize many of our customers work past 7 p.m., so this will allow them to order and receive their products in a timely fashion so they can take care of their customers,” explains Pagliaro. “We want to help dealers keep a smile on their customers’ faces and we aim to do this with our warehouse team, along with our online commitment to them and the industry.”
In the beginning
The Wolfhards started the business as a part-time venture in 1991. At the time, they owned Westmount Pool & Spa, a service company offering pool and hot tub repairs. Many of their calls came from other dealers in southern Ontario looking for spa parts and service tips. Prior to this, Peter, who was a regular contributor to Pool & Spa Marketing, was a sales representative for Adapt Leisure Ltd., a wholesale pool distributor, where he developed strong relationships with southwestern Ontario dealers. During this period spa parts were not readily available, which is what sparked the need for a company like Central Spa & Pool Supply.
“I sourced out suppliers of parts for my own service needs and started supplying other dealers who were looking for these parts as well,” says Wolfhard. “In 1997, we moved to Midland, Ont., incorporated the company as Central Ontario Spa and Leisure Ltd., and made it our full-time business.”
After the move, the company’s sales continued to grow exponentially as the hot tub parts and accessories aftermarket industry grew.
“Lynda and I were the only two employees at the time,” says Peter. “I would help dealers troubleshoot spa service issues and fill orders, while Lynda would handle product shipment and invoicing.”
As the company continued to grow, more employees were hired. Most new hires started in the shipping department and then joined other areas of the company. The company’s first new hire, Kelly Robillard, was bilingual as an increasing number of inquiries started coming from customers in Quebec. Robillard, a recent contributor to Pool & Spa Marketing and Piscines & Spas, is still with the company today.
“Out of necessity, we also compiled our own cross-reference guides to substitute our part numbers to the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs),” explains Peter. “This was a time when spa manufacturers were changing, creating the need for the older parts.”
Later, the company continued to diversify itself by offering training workshops to service professionals across Canada, which helped to further establish its customer base and reputation.
“Thanks to these initiatives the sustainable growth of the company continued, we hired more staff, acquired more warehouse space and added specialty pool parts and products,” says Peter. “The company’s name changed a couple of times as well—from Central Spa Supply Ltd., to Central Spa & Pool Supply Ltd.—to promote our pool accessories, but our main focus was always on service.”