Paddock offering backyard entertainment
Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, July 1, 2008
Proving there are plenty of ways to play, Paddock Pools, Patios & Spas recently launched Backyard Entertainment Center concept stores in Las Vegas and Phoenix, following 50 years of selling pool and backyard supplies through traditional retail outlets across Nevada and Arizona.
The newest Las Vegas store opened Memorial Day weekend in Arroyo Market Square to offer arguably the widest assortment of backyard entertainment options ever assembled into one location. The innovative new one-stop shop features a full service putting green, trampoline, two children’s play structures, above-ground pools with operating remote control boats and other sports equipment. Visitors can use the equipment in the Backyard Entertainment Center and shop Paddock’s line-up of pools, spas, patio furniture, pool supplies, barbecues and more.
“We worked for years on development and implementation of this new concept to ensure it would become a fun destination for families,” said Jim Cich, president and CEO. “We wanted to make Paddock a place where shoppers could actually test out entertainment products before they buy them, just like they are accustomed to doing with our furniture and spas.”
During opening weekend, the store saw repeat customers buying everything from outdoor furniture and pool supplies to pools and spas. Visitors enjoyed the opportunity to experience backyard fun products before they actually made a purchase.
The location became the fourth backyard superstore in Las Vegas since Paddock opened its first two in Nevada in 1998, said David Ghiz, former president of Paddock’s retail division and now a consultant and member of the board. When the then family-owned and operated retailer entered Las Vegas, “the market itself was under-stored for our industry,” Ghiz said. “It was definitely ready and ripe for our entry into the market, so it worked really well for us and has been a great market for Paddock.”
The first two Paddock stores in Las Vegas were about 18,000 square feet, but the newer ones are smaller. “We’ve reduced our overall prototype down to about 15,000 now,” Ghiz said. “That’s the number we think is going to work best for us.”
At the North Durango store, which opened a year ago in North Las Vegas, sling and cushioned deep seating collections by Hanamint and Tropitone have been best-selling lines, with most customers choosing sand and terra cotta colors. Umbrellas by Treasure Garden, Weber grills, grill islands, outdoor kitchens, Sundance Spas and a full range of pool products draw customers from as far north as Salt Lake City.
“In the Las Vegas market, you have wind as an issue almost every day, so the consumer is looking for heavy product,” Ghiz said. “If we sell any glass top tables there, I would say it’s very little. People want heavy alternative tops that they don’t have to worry about the wind tipping over, and they want heavy furniture that won’t blow around the back yard.”
Cast aluminum and teak furniture products sell best, Ghiz said. “Teak is not a top seller, but it’s got a real consistent sales pattern for us in both Phoenix and Las Vegas,” he said. “It’s a look that people want and, from our standpoint, it’s the only wood we’ll sell because everything else will crack and fall apart.”
With extremely hot temperatures in June, July and August, another challenge is getting people to want to sit outside, Ghiz said. “When it gets so hot, if they’re not in the pool, they’re in the house and they don’t want to invest in patio furniture as much as they do in the fall or the spring,” he said.
Sales of sling furniture for poolside remain consistent, but have been eclipsed by cushion sales. “Sling does well, but people want to buy furniture that’s really comfortable so the majority of our business is done in cushion,” Ghiz said. “For the majority of the year in both Phoenix and Las Vegas, people want to spend as much time outside as they can.”
Grill sales have trended downward from last year and 2006, which Ghiz attributed to the ongoing economic climate. “It’s good, but it’s not like it was,” Ghiz said. “I just think people are holding off on those kinds of purchases right now.”
Although pool and spa products are a big part of Paddock’s business, sales are dependent on warm weather and people wanting to swim. “We had kind of an odd spring and early summer there, just like Phoenix, it was cool and rainy,” Ghiz said. “That product has suffered a little bit this year just based on weather.”
Pool schools to teach consumers about pumps, filters, water chemistry and chemical balance are conducted year-round at the four Las Vegas stores. John Gold, pool pro for the North Durango store, conducts regular pool classes and was optimistic about pool-related product sales. “I think it’s picking up,” Gold said. “The outlook is brighter. July, August and September will be hot.”
With more than 70,000 pools built, Paddock is the Southwest’s largest retailer of swimming pools, patio furniture, pool supplies and spas. It also provides remodeling, repair and service, as well as the area’s largest selection of patio furnishings, backyard accessories and custom outdoor kitchens. Established in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1958, Paddock Pools, Patios and Spas now has 16 stores in Arizona and Nevada.
“We’ve opened seven stores over the last three years, so I think we’re going to give this a chance to work, make sure everybody is operating correctly and watch what happens with our economic position,” Ghiz said. “We’re good for now. We’ve got Phoenix and Las Vegas covered completely so our goal would be to look at new markets for our next expansion plan.”