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All of the manufacturers are having a down year this year due to the economy, a down housing market and difficulty obtaining financing. Watkins is not the only manufacturer affected. They are also not the only manufacturer to lay off some help and slow the production lines. I even expect some marginal manufacturers to go out of business soon. However, I don't expect Watkins will infuriate their dealer base by allowing Costco to become a full-blown dealer of the product line. Watkins sells many more tubs through the dealer network vs. big box merchants and the product is fully supported by the dealer. Who is Costco going to send out on repairs?
The original posts in this thread from last year were comparing the Costco Highlife to a quote on the more powerful Sovereign with larger plumbing and more robust Wavemaster 9000 pump at $8000. The Classic Sovereign has the much more anemic Wavemaster 7000. The difference in jet action between a Classic Sovereign and the regular Sovereign is like night and day. The Costco Highlife will suffer from the same reduced jet action since it has the same Wavemaster 7000 pump. That doesn't mean that I am belittling the Costco Highlife. Frankly, I think that it is the only really viable rigid tub purchase in Costco's line-up. I'm just pointing out that it is functionally equivalent only to the very low end of the HS line, operationally speaking. Furthermore, I stand behind my other comments, especially regarding warranty service. Here in SE Mass and eastern RI, the regular HS dealers are not delivering or servicing these tubs. Anyone buying this tub out of Costco had better check on service before buying.
: Hot Spring laid off about 400 workers and is in trouble with sales. So,
: they are going to have to make up what the dealers cannot do, by
: putting spas anywere they can sell them. If costco is selling 7 to
: 10K spas per year, that is a "heavy" dealer for them to tap
: The Costco spa is the same as the "Classic" sovereign not the
: HP version of the Sovereign. The Classic version sells for about 2K
: more than the Costco model.
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