Maine’s oldest and largest retail hot tub company, Mainely Tubs, has just announced that it has converted to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company.
Founded in 1978, Mainely Tubs was the first business in Maine to use the catchy title “Mainely” in its trade name. Since then, there have been a number of “firsts” for the company. In 2004 it became the largest volume single store dealer in the entire HotSpring Spa network when it sold 888 new hot tubs, and in 2016 it will receive that award for the 13th time. In 2006, Mainely Tubs was the first two-time winner of what owner Jim Van Fleet describes as the Vince Lombardy trophy of the hot tub industry – the Locksin Thompson Award – and in 2015 it won the same award for the third time. HotSpring Spas, known as Watkins Wellness, is the largest manufacturer in the hot tub/portable spa industry.
Forty current Mainely Tubs employees are now represented by a retirement trust under the guardianship of Portland-based Spinnaker Trust, an ESOP Trustee specialist. Sr. VP Jeannine Pendergast said “Spinnaker Trust is honored to participate with industry leader Mainely Tubs in order to perpetuate the remarkable success of this Company for the benefit of its employees. This structure is a unique way to reward employees for their hard work and long service in that all future company results will accrue to the exclusive benefit of their retirement plan”. And importantly, Van Fleet points out that this structure means that the same staff can continue to support the 21,000+ customers that are now part of the Mainely Tubs “family”.
Van Fleet, 68, longtime President of Mainely Tubs, has been laying the groundwork for his succession for the last 5 years, and while he will remain the Company’s CEO for the foreseeable future, much of the responsibility for day-to-day operations of the Company has already been handed to current staff. Diana Locke, GM/COO leads the staff, and is joined by Fin./IT/Marketing Mgr. Scott Bell, and Operations Mgr. Richard Hyde as the Company’s key management.
The transaction has been financed by Machias Savings Bank, as well as by Van Fleet. Machias President Larry Barker said “the staff culture and extraordinary customer service of Mainely Tubs is so similar to that of Machias Savings that we felt our participation would be a win/win for both companies. We were also very impressed by the Company’s financial performance as it has experienced a compound annual growth rate of 6-7 times the rate at which GDP has grown since 2009.”