Ole’s is the place to go for pools and spas | Home & Garden

If Ole Schow were to tell you anything, he’d tell you that the spas of today are far different from those sold back in 1983.

Schow is the owner of Ole’s Pool and Spa, LLC, located in Port Orchard. He began in the pool business doing mostly repairs working for his father who had a store in Tacoma.

In 2004, he struck out on his own and opened Ole’s Pool & Spa in Port Orchard.

“I’ve seen the hot tub industry go from the very basic fiberglass shell with four or five jets to what it is today,” Schow said. “Hot tubs today are better engineered for therapeutic and health needs, and for recreation, not to mention efficiency, durability and power.”

Ole’s is the authorized dealer for Bullfrog spas in the Kitsap County area.

Schow likes to tell how spas first began.

“They started in Northern California and were just old wine barrels full of water with one tiny pump, and were electrically heated,” he said. “The advancements in the technology on hot tubs is light years from where we were 25 or 30 years ago.”

For example, with Bullfrog spas, there is up to 90 percent less plumbing than what an average spa has. The plumbing is easier to get to and takes less time and money to make repairs, he added. This makes the Bullfrog spa so much more efficient as it retains heat like a Thermos.

“And Bullfrog spas can be customized, so that each seat has a different JetPak that addresses various locations of the body, such as the neck or the lower back. And those JetPaks can be removed easily while the spa is filled with water, if they need maintenance. They can also be exchanged with other JetPaks in your spa.”

Customers who come in wanting to learn about spas are doing so because they are looking for a stress reliever, to address a health concern, or for recreational use.

“We sell from 75 to 100 spas in a year and most people are interested in a medium-size spa that will fit four to five people,” he said.

That mid-sized spa can range from $6,500 to $11,000 depending on the specifics.

Some customers say they have health concerns and they’ve been told that getting a spa would help.

For example, Schow said, he’s sold spas to construction or shipyard workers who use it daily to help with their “aches and pains.”

“It’s a great way to address issues with arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, or injuries if you are an athlete or just a backyard warrior.”

Schow also said many folks want a spa as a way of relaxing and reducing stress.

“I’ve had customers tell me that they start their day by getting in the spa before they go to work, and then they return home and get back in the spa to relax,” he said.

He asks customers a lot of questions to try to determine which spa is right for them.

“I try to find out which hot tub will best suit their needs,” he said. “I have people call on the phone and want to buy over the phone. I try to narrow down the field and then ask them to come in and see what we’re talking about.”

Some folks will actually buy spas over the internet without seeing what they’re buying, in an attempt to save money. But often times that backfires on them, Schow said.

With a purchase from a spa dealer, such as Ole’s, the customer gets delivery and installation in the price. The only extras are getting an electrician to hook up the electricity and sometimes the use of a crane.

“If it’s an installation on a second floor deck, and the spa has to be lifted into place, we have to use a crane,” he said. “But if the customer wants us to arrange that, and the electrical hook-up, we will do that for them, too.”

Much of Ole’s day-to-day business is working on spas or pools that are already in use. The company will service any brand of spa or pool and does work in residential and commercial locations including city pools, the Navy base pool, hotels and motels, homes and apartments.

“That’s our bread and butter,” he said, about the repair and service work.

And sometimes that work has kept them afloat, like in 2008 when during a recession very few people were buying new spas, but they were having their old ones serviced.

Spas today are much more energy efficient and cost the average consumer only about $12 to $15 a month in energy costs. Also, it’s much easier to keep them clean.

“There’s been so many advancements as far as taking care of the water and cleaning the spa,” he said. “It only takes a few minutes once a week to check the water, and about 20 minutes once a month to clean the filter. There is a water chemistry that has to be maintained in order to have a safe environment, but the products on the market now are so easy to use.”

The old idea of having a hot tub and being the party place has mostly gone by the wayside, he said, although a few people come in looking for a large hot tub and want to have friends over every weekend.

Much of their spa business is replacing existing tubs.

“We replace a lot of old hot tubs,” he said. “Their current one has broken and they have gone a few months without one and then realize how much they miss it.”

And while there are more expensive spas that have waterfalls and lights, most spa owners don’t want that.

“It’s considered ’bling,’” he said. “And that’s always the stuff that breaks.”

What Schow wants people to know is that having a spa is reasonable these days.

“Spas can be financed and when you look at it, they can be cheaper than athletic club memberships,” he said. “Plus you have the spa all to yourself and you can go in it any time you want.”

More: 1521 Piperberry Way, Port Orchard, 360-373-8131. www.olespoolandspa.com,