Pool businesses seeing high demand: ‘Still as crazy as it was last year’

A crew from Buckeye Pools works on installing a new pool Thursday, May 20, 2021. Pool businesses are still seeing high demand. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
A crew from Buckeye Pools works on installing a new pool Thursday, May 20, 2021. Pool businesses are still seeing high demand. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

An astronomical demand for home swimming pools and hot tubs that began in 2020 when people were forced to stay-at-home has not slowed this year and now some cleaning supplies are limited, local companies said.

The supply chain for the leisure products has slowed and is causing problems for builders and customers looking to add to their backyards.

Dave Kramer, general manager at Knickerbocker Pools and Spas, and Chris Durbin, owner of Buckeye Pools, both said they are seeing less supplies needed to install a backyard pool.

“The demand is still as crazy as it was last year. And the supply chain is not holding up,” Kramer said.

Kramer said hot tubs are in short supply, to the point where Knickerbocker Pools and Spas is only selling them when they have them in stock. The hot tubs still sell out quickly.

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He thinks above ground pools will probably be sold out sometime in June, with no capabilities of buying more until 2022.

Kramer said there is a shortage on chlorine tablets used to clean pools, but there is no shortage on liquid chlorine.

Last summer, Durbin said his company saw at least a 300% increase in calls inquiring about building pools.

Cities like Huber Heights, Vandalia and Springboro saw the number of permit requests to build swimming pools double and triple compared to previous years.

Durbin said Buckeye Pools has had a decrease in the amount of people who have reached out to him on a weekly basis, but the business is still busy and having issues both with supply chains and getting enough employees.

“We are just absolutely swamped,” Durbin said. “Absolutely swamped.”

Durbin said he tried to get ahead of the demand last year and made a big order of pools and supplies. But he said many of the manufacturers just don’t seem to have caught up, which concerns him.

“Because the southern states, you know, are building all winter,” he said. “But now all of a sudden you get the northern half of the country that starts and so are we going to run out, you know, three quarters of the way through?”

Both Buckeye Pools and Knickerbocker Pools and Spas are still doing estimates and taking calls for installation of in-ground pools, but both said there may be a wait.

Kramer noted that like many other construction costs, the cost of putting in a pool is also higher now than it was a few years ago.

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Kramer said he thinks the trend of people putting pools into their backyards will continue for the next few years. He personally has a pool installed on his property, and he said it was a worthwhile investment.

“In my mind, I’m a father of a 13- and 14-year-old child and having a pool in my backyard makes me know who my kids’ friends are,” he said. “You know, I know exactly who they are, because people come to our house.”

It’s something that can be enjoyed all summer, he said, while a vacation may only last for a week or two.

“If you invest in your backyard, it’s always there,” Kramer said.

Contact Eileen McClory at 937-694-2016 or eileen.mcclory@coxinc.com.