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Devoted to Spas



lthough I started Catalina Spas Ltd in 1997, I first joined the UK pool and spa industry over 30 years ago, in 1984. I was offered a job by Peter Newbury who was setting up Spaform, the UK’s first spa vacuum forming facility, where Peter and I installed the factory infrastructure that included building the oven, vacuum, hydraulic, power and air lines. When the factory was completed, I assisted with the design, production and manufacture of the UK’s first vacuum spa mould and then ultimately the production of the very first spa.

My time in the industry then progressed to production, installations, servicing, repairs and technical support, eventually being offered a job at Aquatech, where I moved into sales. I was fortunate enough to travel throughout the UK meeting the many fine and interesting characters who were in the industry at that time. This stirred an interest and desire in pool building that saw a move into design and the building of residential and commercial pools and spas throughout the UK and Spain.

Because of my early background, my heart 36 April 2013 SPN

was always in spas and although I was selling them, the choice of models to retail was limited. I felt that there were opportunities to introduce to the UK some of the more advanced features that were on some of the US made spas. So, in 1996 we imported the first Catalina and then in 1997 formed Catalina Spas Ltd. In 1999 we exhibited at our first SPATEX, where we displayed a spa that had the very first sound system, as well as perimeter fibre optic lights. I will never forget the comments – “who wants music in a spa” and “that will never catch on” – well it did and now makes up over 90% of the spas we sell! From that very first spa, Catalina Spas Ltd has developed into one of the UK’s most well-known spa and swim spa brands. We now offer a range of 30 spas and swim spa models in 6 price categories, all made in our factory in California. With spa RRP prices starting from only £2,995 and swim spa/ trainers from £9,995 (inc VAT) we cover all those very important price points. We supply our products to an extensive network of professional dealers here in the UK, as well as many countries throughout Europe. This year, as a measure of our quality and design,

Catalina swim spas were selected to be included into the Certikin catalogue. We are also very proud to be an official supplier to Sunseeker, another company that has a high demand for quality and reliability. In 1998 we relocated our home to Salisbury and bought Downs Farm. With planning permission, we developed the Farm into offices and stores. Over the years, this has been further developed and now includes over 25,000 sq ft of warehousing, offices and a showroom facility. Catalina is run by a dedicated team of professionals, some of whom have been with me for over ten years. We are also a family business, with three generations involved, my mother, June who joined very early on, is responsible for the accounts, then James, my son, joined four years ago and looks after the sales and creative marketing side of the business; then more recently, Sophie my daughter has joined and she is responsible for customer services. Finally, my wife, Jenny, is a director of the business, so we all have to keep on our toes!

My involvement in the wider industry was fuelled by the fact that as the market developed, it attracted unwanted attention from some who saw an opportunity to ‘make a few quid’. Then following tragic incidents in Holland and Belgium, several like-minded professionals felt the need to form an industry association to set standards and to help protect the public. This saw the formation of BISHTA and I was honoured to hold the position of Chairman for a number of years. My work with the BISHTA Technical Committee continues to the present day and I am happy to continue sharing my views. Standards need to be reviewed regularly and a big challenge coming up this year is to liaise with our colleagues in Europe to discuss the formation of European standards for domestic hot tubs and spas. Through my involvement in BISHTA, this ultimately led to me becoming the Chairman of the BSPF (British Swimming Pool Federation). I was delighted to be able to represent BISHTA and this allowed me to promote the work that we do with other industry groups, such as SPATA. On the whole our industry is a great place to work and has attracted many fine, responsible and professional people to it. Having recently hosted my Past Presidents’ Meal, it struck me how much expertise and goodwill there is, however whilst there are still a few undesirable individuals involved in the market, it is important that we continue to be vigilant and challenge these people so that the public are not mislead. I am really looking forward to continuing my involvement in the industry and good luck to you all in 2013! SPN

Catalina Spas Ltd 01980 611555

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