When Erick Johanson was 20 years old, he had a job working on a commercial fishing boat out of Westport Washington.
In 1988 he decided he wanted to pursue something different, but he used a unique method to choose a new career path.
“I made a list of all the summer jobs my friends were doing while home from college, and picked the one I was most suited for,” Johanson says. “Since my father and grandfather were both diamond dealers, sales is in my blood. So I decided to go into selling swim spas and hot tubs.”
Johanson got a job installing swim spas that year – a job that became an obsession – and 11 years later he opened Northwest Swim Spas in Elma, Washington.
“It’s an odd, interesting business for a town the size of Elma,” Johanson says. “We’ve got more swim spas and hot tubs on display than anywhere this side of the Mississippi!”
Swim spas are moderately-sized jetted tubs in which you swim against the current created by the jets, staying in one place as you swim while the water moves around you.
“Throughout the 90s I mainly sold and installed in-ground or ‘built-in’ swim spas,” Johanson says. “I did this by installing small fiber-glass pools into the ground, and then building swim systems into them.”
During this time, Johanson witnessed the increase in popularity of free-standing, self-contained swim spas, but the quality and performance of these spas simply didn’t live up to his standards and expectations.
He continued selling mostly in-ground spas while visiting different manufacturers and dealers, until eventually he found free-standing models had reached a quality he could stand behind.
“You can truly swim in them and have an active enjoyable experience,” Johanson says. “Their purification and filtration systems keep the water crystal clear, the design makes maintenance easy, and they’re efficient and affordable to use year-round in the Pacific Northwest.
“I’ve become a true believer of one hour a day in a swim spa. I’ve been doing it for several years myself, and I’m definitely reaping health benefits from it.”
Northwest Swim Spas has 12 models on display, with five running models available to test, allowing customers to see how they operate, and check out the different options and resistance systems.
Swim spas were Johanson’s primary business for many years, but when many people began asking about hot tubs, he started selling them as well. Northwest Swim Spas now displays 60 models of hot tubs and Swim Spas.
“We sell national brand hot tubs at 15 to 50 per cent less than what you’ll find at dealers in major centers,” Johanson says. “So why not take a drive out to the country and save some money!”
Follow Northwest Swim Spas on Facebook and Instagram, and call 360-861-4667 to schedule a private appointment to view their showroom, located at 617 East Young St, Elma, WA, 98541. Or, visit northwestswimspas.com.