Camping Pioneer Turns to Hot Tub Business
It was a year ago this week when Casey Loyd, president of spa-maker LMS Inc. in Pomona, Calif, sat down with executives from Coleman over coffee and made a proposal he was really sure would hold water, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
What if, he said, Coleman, which for more than 100 years has built up a camping-supply empire, would attach its names to spas that his 30-year-old company made?
Lo and behold, Coleman liked the idea.
On Tuesday (April 20), Loyd’s proposal started bearing fruit, as his Pomona-based, 1-million-square-foot manufacturing plant churned out Coleman hot tubs.
“This is truly a winning combination,” he told an audience of about 100 spa dealers from around the country and from Canada, who came to an open house at LMS’ Cal Spas plant in Pomona.
And consumers, even in a sluggish economy, are ready for it, he said, adding that there’s pent-up demand among people ready to invest in their homes’ backyards.
“We think the big investment that consumers are going to make — besides their home — is in their backyard,” he said.
Coleman agreed. And if consumers do, the licensing agreement with the camping-supply titan could mean the creation of 250 jobs over the next 12 to 18 months, Loyd said.
The spas, complete with features that include an iPod dock, speakers and energy efficient “smart” technology, will carry the Coleman brand name and will ultimately be distributed worldwide, Loyd said.
Dealers and LMS distributor Poolcorp representatives said Coleman’s entry into the spa marketplace will be a boon for the industry. The company has felt the hit from a recession that began in a housing market that was vital for the spa business.
Most people really don’t know what the brand of their spa is, many observers said. But with Coleman in the picture, that changes.
“It brings out that name recognition to the industry,” said Jim Dale, president of Pelican Pool Supply, based in Quakertown, Penn.
And frankly, he added, “(The industry) could use a little shove here and there.”
If that shove comes, Loyd said it will also be a boon for manufacturing in California – a sector he still has seemingly boundless faith in.
“You just have got to have the will … and if there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.