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Inflation May Affect Growth This Year in the Pool Industry

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How Inflation Is Affecting The Pool Industry

Inflation jumped 7.5% year over year in the latest report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. Consumers saw the highest jump in prices since 1982 according to analysts. If you’re in the pool industry though you hardly needed to wait for the report to tell you what you’ve already known for some time; prices are going up.

Experts in the pool industry have already felt the results of inflation in the form of rising costs across the board on manufacturing, raw materials, and salaries. The jump in inflation numbers comes as no surprise to those who’ve seen an increase in demand for goods and services related to pools over the last two years.

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Pool Industry Riding High Last Two Years

The gains have led to record-breaking growth years for companies as consumers were ready to pay more for products. In the pool industry, most major manufacturers have reported sharp upticks in revenue and growth; defying pundits who’ve been predicting a reversal of fortune is coming. One startling fact has analysts concerned that we may have finally hit that tipping point. While wages have risen at the fastest pace in twenty years, they still have not outpaced the rate of inflation.

A surging 7.5% increase in inflation has Feds seeking to raise interest rates this year.
A surging 7.5% increase in inflation has Feds seeking to raise interest rates this year.

During year one of the Covid-19 pandemic, the federal government provided financial assistance to individuals and businesses in the form of stimulus payments, increased unemployment benefits, and enacted the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act.

These unprecedented efforts by the government likely spared millions from financial ruin, but the influx of all that cash has undeniably caused inflation rates to skyrocket.

Will Inflation Impact the ’22 Pool Season?

We reached out to folks on social media to get their take on what is going on and how they perceive it will impact their business.

“I’m already tightening the belt and doing what I can to do less for more money,” said Jonathan Evans of Sequoyah Pools, “we weathered the last recession well. We’re not a big company and aren’t posting record profits because we don’t gouge people.”

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Pool contractor, Joe Lloyd has concerns about how inflation will impact the upcoming pool season this summer, “Definitely worried about this upcoming season price-wise,” said Lloyd, “None of us can afford to keep costs down for customers by eating them ourselves. We have to pass them along to them.”

“I look at my phone calls, and it is a dramatic difference from the last 2 years. There is definitely a decline in interest about to where it was,” said Brian Conners of River City Pool & Spa in Hixson, TN.

“It will absolutely affect me. Yeah I see the cost of goods going up, but the cost of any type of building supplies have gone up dramatically,” said Tampa pool professional – Jacob Schroth, “not only are the builders and remodelers dealing with the price increases there is a big inventory issue on all goods. I find myself going to 3 stores sometimes to get what I need.”

Higher interest rates and tougher credit terms underscore how inflation may impact the pool industry.

How Inflation Affects The Bottom Line for Pool Companies

When inflation causes higher prices, the demand for credit increases, raising interest rates. While this is great for lenders, the reverse is true for consumers; particularly those of pool-related products.

Higher interest rates eventually will raise the cost for a wide spectrum of borrowing, from mortgages and credit cards to vehicle and business loans. Traditionally when this happens, we’ve seen less consumer confidence and a decrease in spending. Analysts fear that the Fed’s choice to gradually tighten credit terms could also lead to another recession.

Higher Prices May Cool Consumers Heels

This jibes with what Ryan Johnson, Owner of Check It Out Pools in Sparks, NV thinks might occur. His concern is that rising interest rates will affect new home buyers who may have been considering a pool. “It will put off buyers in the market that are so close to homeownership that they are barely close to qualifying for something,” said Johnson, “a $400 increase in their house payment will hurt a lot of middle-class families to the point it’s not worth it. They definitely will think twice about installing a pool, getting service, or upgrading their pool or backyards.”

As consumers feel the squeeze on higher rates, discretionary dollars for pool-related products and services could be affected.

While the last two years, consumer confidence seems to have been at an all-time high for reinvesting in the backyard, many have serious reservations we will see a repeat this year in terms of demand. The current inflation outlook seems to be less optimistic that consumer interest will reach the levels seen in the previous two years and that the time for belt-tightening may finally have arrived.

Stock prices were down after the inflation report was released with the S&P now -5% for 2022 so far and all sector indexes reporting a decline. The Nasdaq was also down and is so far -11% for 2022 and poised for the worst start to the year since the 2008 financial crisis.

4.6/5 - (17 votes)

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Chlorine Prices Continue To Go Up This Summer

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Chlorine Prices Continue To Soar

With no relief in sight, chlorine prices continue to soar as costs keep rising for pool chemicals this summer. Since almost the very start of the pandemic prices for pool sanitizers like chlorine have nearly doubled and at the retail level consumers are paying nearly triple what they were before the end of 2020.

What Caused Prices To Go Up?

Soaring costs for fuel, rising inflation, and a litany of other factors such as logistical delays and workforce shortages have plagued the pool industry. A factory closure due to a fire at one of the nation’s largest producers of dried chlorine products certainly did not help matters.

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BioLab, the manufacturer in question is spending $170 million dollars on rebuilding their plant after it burnt to the ground during Hurricane Laura. While many pool professionals were hoping that the plant would be back online in time to impact and offset summer chlorine prices, a series of delays related to a second hurricane has pushed back operations. Consequently, any impact BioLab’s production would have had on this year’s chlorine supply is now a moot point.

Will Chlorine Prices Go Back Down?

Industry pundits and analysts know what caused prices to spike. That’s never been the issue. The question that remains to be answered: When will chlorine prices go back down? The answer is, they won’t.

While chlorine prices are expected to stabilize somewhat within the next year, rising costs, inflation, and an increase in consumer demand will keep chlorine prices high well into next summer and the immediate, foreseeable future.

Exactly how much have Chlorine prices increased?

Chlorine like many other chemicals is a commodity. As such the prices for chemical commodities are clearly viewable from various credible sources. The price index for Alkalies and Chlorine, Including Natural Sodium Carbonate and Sulfate, reached a record high of 483.79600 in May of 2022. As we progress later into the summer and prices are predicted to continue to rise and blow away analysts’ forecasts.

Price of Chlorine - source: tradingeconomics.com
Price of Chlorine – source: tradingeconomics.com

In response to a changing market, many pool professionals began to switch to liquid chlorine and alternative sanitizing methods to help offset operational costs. Consequently, these materials have also increased in price over the last year and a half. Exactly how high have prices gone?

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Financing options are available for purchasing chlorine tablets.
Financing options are available for purchasing tablets.

Well let’s put it this way, you can finance a 50-pound $449 bucket of Bromine tablets for just $41 bucks a month if you buy it from Leslie’s, on Amazon you’ll pay $498 if you can find them in stock. That we’re at a state that necessitates the need for consumers to be able to finance a bucket of tablets, is a pause for reflection on exactly how high prices have gone up.

The price of a 50 pound bucket of chlorine tablets is now almost $500 on Amazon.
The price of a 50 pound bucket of tablets is now almost $500 on Amazon.

4.7/5 - (15 votes)

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3D Printed Pools Ready To Hit The Market

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3D Printed Pool by San Juan Fiberglass Pools

San Juan Pools is ready to usher in the era of 3D-printed pools. The fiberglass pool manufacturer were on Fox & Friends yesterday demonstrating the first-ever 3D printed fiberglass swimming pool.

The advent of 3D printing promises to lower the cost for building homes, and it would seem that the same holds true for swimming pools. With dealerships all over the United States, San Juan Pools has been operating its family-owned business for almost 65 years. As one of the largest manufacturers of fiberglass pools, the 3D printed pool is a first for the pioneers.

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World’s First 3D Printed Fiberglass Pool Hits The Streets of Manhattan

San Juan shipped their Baja Beach model up to midtown Manhattan where Bedell explained the technology behind 3d printing a swimming pool and allowed hosts to sample the product, so to speak.

The 3D printed pool features a hot tub for 8 people and a sloped beach entry that can be installed in or above ground. Features you’d find in a custom inground swimming pool Bedell explained the exciting aspect of 3D printing a swimming pool means “they can make it any shape they want.”

The Future of 3D Printed Swimming Pools

Home improvement expert Skip Bedell, explained that San Juans new 3d printed pools can be produced in a matter of days and are made from completely recyclable materials.

“So, when they’re done, they can put it through a plastic shredder and reuse those plastic pellets,” Bedell said, referencing the product’s end life and consumer disposal.

Bedell explained that San Juan Pools shift towards adapting massive printing technology stemmed from its partnership with an advanced manufacturing company called Alpha Additive. Bedell explained that no other pool manufacturer currently has the technology or machinery to create these pool products, which currently leaves them as the sole 3D printer of fiberglass pools in the industry.

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Coach Saves Swimmer Who Fainted At World Championships

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Coach Andrea Fuentes Saves Swimmer Anita Alvarez Who Fainted While Competing at World Championships in Budapest

‘Hero coach saves swimmer’ was the headline splashed all over the news today. After losing consciousness during the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, American swimmer Anita Alvarez was rescued from drowning at the bottom of the pool by coach Andrea Fuentes.

On Wednesday, Fuentes dived into the water after seeing the 25-year-old artistic swimmer plummet to the bottom of the women’s solo free event.

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Coach Indicated Life Guards Slow To React

Andrea Fuentes, coach to two-time Olympian Anita Alvarez, told Spanish newspaper Marca that she dived in to haul the 25-year-old to the surface because no one else lifted a finger to do so.

“I jumped into the water because I saw that no one, no lifeguard, was diving in,” she said.

The dramatic rescue unfolded when Ms Alvarez was participating in the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Wednesday night.

This wasn’t the first time that Fuentes has come to Alvarez’s rescue. During an Olympic qualification event last year, a similar incident occurred where Fuentes leaped into action to her and swim partner, Lindi Schroeder to safety.

Who is Andrea Fuentes?

Fuentes is a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming and the most decorated swimmer on the Spanish National Team. The world champion rescued Alvarez from the bottom of the pool and swam her to the surface before swimming her to safety at the edge of the pool.

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“I got a little scared because she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine,” Fuentes told news sources.

Swimmers often hold their breath for long periods of time as a way to develop their lung capacity but never defy medical advice, according to their instructor, who explained that the occurrence was not out of the ordinary in the sport of swimming.

Fuentes became concerned when she observed Alvarez’s feet appeared paler than usual toward the end of her routine on Wednesday. While Alvarez was descending instead of ascending to take a breath, she dove in.

Coach saves swimmer after fainting in pool
Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Swim Coach Saves Swimmer, Quick To Respond To Distress

Fuentes remarked, “I was already paying attention, and then I saw her sliding down. In the end, “I didn’t even ask myself if I should go or not, I just thought that I was not going to wait.”
“I know Anita very well and I know the sport very well.” Fuentes replied when asked if she thought lifeguards were too slow to respond to the incident.

Coach Saves Swimmer – Says ‘I Did My Job’

Fuentes concluded by saying, “They did their job, I did mine,” The sport’s governing body, the International Swimming Federation (FINA), did not react to calls for comment on reaction speed of the rescue.

After what it called a “medical emergency.” FINA said in a statement on Thursday that it has been in contact with Alvarez, her teammates, and her medical personnel. In the words of the release, “Ms. Alvarez was immediately treated by a medical team in the venue and is in good health,”

Oli Scarff, the underwater photographer who used a remote robotic camera to capture the breathtaking images of the rescue, told reporters that he heard noise as he was looking at his computer toward the end of Alvarez’s routine. He observed the swimmer at the bottom of the pool on the screen of the robotic camera.

Hero swim coach Andrea Fuentes saves unconsious swimmer Anita Alvarez after she fainted in swim competition in Budapest
Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

According to the photographer, it was “It was kind of a shocking thing to see because as soon as I looked back down at the robotic camera I had this kind of clear view of the scene while everyone in the arena was watching it through the surface of the water,” as he put it.

At first Scarff was capturing “beautiful” images of a “amazing” athlete in action, only to find himself “in a heartbeat” photographing “a near-death situation.” “Actually, I was rather rattled up by the whole thing.

Swimmer Says She’s Ready To Compete on Friday

“The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc. All is fine,” Fuentes stated. Other high-endurance sports, such as running and cycling, also experience this.” Whether it’s a marathon, a bike race, or a cross-country race, we’ve all seen photographs of racers who didn’t make it to the finish line being helped by others. Swimming is just like any other activity in that we push ourselves to our limits and sometimes find them.”

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