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Pools, hot tubs in high demand in Sioux City amid COVID-19 pandemic
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Pools, hot tubs in high demand in Sioux City amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Pool and spa sales

Sales manager Lucas Mosher talks about the spike in sales of pools and spas at Professional Pool & Spa in Sioux City. Mosher attributes the sales increase to people canceling vacations and the desire to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SIOUX CITY -- A few weeks after Sioux City bars, restaurants, gyms and the Southern Hills Mall temporarily closed their doors to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Lucas Mosher noticed a dramatic increase in customers looking to purchase pools, hot tubs or swim spas from Professional Pool & Spa.

And, the demand hasn't let up since then. 

"You know they were sitting at home for a few weeks thinking, 'What are we going to do with our kids?'" said the sales manager for the pool contractor at 325 W. 23rd St. "I get it. I have a hot tub at home, and we use ours a lot. It's nice to have something like that for the kids to do when you can't go and play with the neighbors."

Professional Pool & Spa sells Marquis hot tubs and swim spas. Mosher said the Oregon-based manufacturer has seen roughly an 800 percent increase in sales amid the pandemic.

Mosher stood in a showroom at Professional Pool & Spa, which was once brimming with hot tubs and spas. Just two floor models were in the large room Wednesday afternoon, and Mosher was certain that at least one of those would soon be heading out the door, as well.

"We had a gigantic swim spa right there that literally just left the store today," he said.

Mosher projects that more hot tubs will be arriving at Professional Pool & Spa in late 2020, and then, restocking will continue to ramp up next January and February. He said he can get a customer into a five-person hot tub for a little under $6,000. Expect to spend $25,000 on a swim spa with all of the extras. Want an above-ground pool? Plan to spend between $7,000 and $13,000. 

Professional Pool & Spa has waiting lists for above- and in-ground pools. To get on one of the lists, Mosher said customers will have to provide some form of payment. He said he is confident that everyone who is currently on the waiting list for an above-ground pool will get one this season. But, depending on how much that list grows, some other customers may have to wait until 2021. That's already the case with in-ground pools.

"You'd be surprised how many people walk in the door and they're like, 'So, next month?' Under most circumstances, we're months out," he said of in-ground pools. "This year, for in-ground pools, there have been more phone calls than I would want to say any other year that I've worked here. In 13 years with the company, I've never seen as much interest in spas and pools, above-ground or in-ground."

The purchase of a pool or spa shouldn't be made on a whim. Mosher said customers wanting an in-ground need to consider the size of their property, as well as how long they plan to remain in their home.

He said Professional Pool & Spa can construct a small in-ground pool or a huge pool, for that matter. A pool with "all the bells and whistles" could top $100,000, according to Mosher, who said a basic in-ground pool runs around $40,000.

"Regardless of if you go with an in-ground pool or an above-ground pool, you're going to replace a liner on either one of them many times," he said. "On average, you're going to replace your liner for an above-ground pool every 8 to 12 years. If it's well maintained, it's going to last." 

Mosher said customers also need to do their research, just as they would before buying a car or a home. All pools and spas aren't created equal.

Mosher urges caution when purchasing a pool or spa from a big-box store or online retailer. Those who decide to purchase from a pool contractor, he said, need to find out what products the company offers to maintain the pool and ask about deck supports for an in-ground pool.

"Some companies don't do that. We do," he said of deck supports. "Those deck supports support the concrete, so the pool will stay level for years. Otherwise, you may get cracks in the concrete."

Your pool or spa will have to be maintained to prevent algae growth, cloudy water and green water. Chemicals for hot tubs will set you back a fraction of the cost that a pool would, according to Mosher. 

"You're dealing with tablespoons of chemical instead of pounds. Less water means less chemical," he said. "Above-grounds are also going to be in the cheaper area for chemicals year to year. You're dealing with 10,000 gallons, instead of 30,000 gallons or more. When you get to the in-ground pools, that's when you're going to see more of like a $500 a year on average per chemical for an entire season."

Pool season generally runs from April until late October. In-ground pools that are heated, covered and running, Mosher said, could be used up until December. 

"Even if it's freezing outside, we're still able to operate that pool. You don't want to do it over the entire winter by any means, but we can keep those pools open pretty late and we can open them pretty early," he said.

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