When Ottawa business owner André Grzela looked to open a Hot Tub Sales & Service outlet in Orléans, he settled on a high end, Canadian-made manufacturer. 4 years later, his business is still expanding. His quality products and award-winning after-sales service have made him a top choice for hot tubs in the Capital.
In February of 2017, André agreed to help his brother, who owned a Hot Tub Sales & Service store in Rockland, expand into Orléans. As a growing end of Ottawa that was largely residential, the area was desperately underserved.
André, who was then a Timmins City Councilor and Assistant to the Local MPP, as well as a new husband and father, was intrigued. He spent months researching the industry and its major players. After half a year of research, he settled on a family-owned, Canadian manufacturing company that specialized in hot tubs—Beachcomber Hot Tubs Inc. from Surrey, BC. It was an easy decision, but a major change in his family’s life. Both he and his wife quit their jobs and entered into new territory in their careers. “We left everything to try something new, somewhere new.” Says Grzela.
The Ottawa market easily took to Beachcomber products. It was a change of pace from the traditional box stores or Leisure Sales stores, who sold Hot Tubs from a variety of foreign manufacturers. “It’s not a company that makes baths and showers and pools. They’re a single product company that focuses on high end, artisanal hot tubs that are made in small quantities, and backed by a great reputation. Customer service had been built into the product already, and that really resonated with me.”
It’s the same advice that Grzela would give any hot tub buyer today: it’s not just what you buy, but “who” you buy it from. And Beachcomber was the right choice on both accounts. They made it easy for Grzela to grow his business with a focus on customer service, something that has distinguished him from other outlets in Ottawa. “A lot of stores are sales-driven. It’s all about
the numbers. Well, customer service has to follow. And that’s where we’ve found our advantage. We’ve decided to be service-driven: high-end product, high-end customer service.”
“It’s not easy to maintain a hot tub,” says Grzela. “So if your salesperson says, don’t worry about it, it’s easy.” This should be a red flag for the prospective client about where they are shopping.
“Understanding ‘how’ to properly maintain your hot tub is key.” Says Grzela.
“A lot of people buy hot tubs without realizing just how unique maintenance can be. Everybody uses their hot tub differently, and everybody produces a different amount of sweat/ ‘bather load’, and uses different products on their skin, all of which will affect the water. There’s no one size fits all solution for balancing that, unfortunately. If there was, I’d sell it.”
His best advice to any shopper is to make sure you are buying from a company that offers great service. To do this, ask about their maintenance services, and check out the reviews. “Don’t just look at the ratings, but the real stories from real customers.”
“Look at where the hot tub is built and sold, too. If the store offers curbside pickup for your hot tub, that’s a good indication of the amount of follow up that will be available after purchase. Maintenance has to be factored in.”
It is his commitment to service that has helped André to grow his business as one of the most popular retailers in the National Capital Region. He services clients from all ends of Ottawa and into surrounding areas, even as far as Cornwall. “I’m an extrovert, and I love to make people happy. I love getting to work with people every day. I make sure that they are 100% satisfied.” It is this dedication to client services that has helped André and his business win several awards in its four years. Beachcomber’s Orleans was voted Ottawa’s Best Hot Tub Sales and Service in the 2021 Ottawa Awards. It also won the 2019 Beachcomber Store of the Year Award from the company and the 2018 Retail Business of the Year in Orléans as per the Orléans Chamber of Commerce. André was voted Ottawa’s Business Owner of the Year in the 2021 Ottawa Awards, and was a Top Forty Under 40 recipient in 2020.
As for what’s next, Beachcomber Orléans is continuing to expand into the BBQ industry and backyard leisure. They plan to open a satellite location in Ottawa’s west end, to help serve more of their western-Ottawa based customers. They also plan to offer pump refurbishment, hot tub refurbishment and trade-in services in the near future.
More information on André and Beachcomber products can be found on their website, www.beachcomberottawa.com