Canadian Made Wood Fired Hot Tubs - Proudly Small Town

Proudly Small Town

Hi, I'm Laura, Co-owner of AlumiTubs with my partner in life and business, Josh. I'm a Mom of two young kids with a third on the way, a home renovator, and former corporate climber. I grew up in the small town of Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, moved to the big city to build my career developing growth programs at Lululemon and Shopify, and now find myself in my thirties spending every waking minute (or every minute awake) raising our kids, growing our company, and most recently, learning my way around a farm.

Growing up in a blue collar family who never shied away from a hard days work, my Dad would say "if there's a job worth doing, it's worth doing well". As a kid, that meant taking my chores and homework seriously. I've carried those words with me into adulthood, and in business it means putting our best foot forward in everything we do - from manufacturing to customer service. "If for no other reason" my Dad would say, "do it because you should. Do it for your own satisfaction". And that's just what we do. AlumiTubs were designed in 2001 to address the shortcomings of traditional cedar hot tubs, and have since become the best wood fired hot tubs on the market. When we took over the business in 2019, we set out to not only uphold the reputation AlumiTubs had built over the decades, but to treat each customer like a family friend, create positive employment within our small town, support local economy, and protect the planet by using sustainable materials and manufacturing methods while we built more wood fired hot tubs for families across North America. Our guiding compass has been the intrinsic belief that if there's a job worth doing, it's worth doing well.

In my Danish heritage, hygge is a way of life. It's not easily defined because it's more of a feeling and a way of being than a particular thing. It's about creating a lifestyle of warmth and coziness, seeking simple pleasures, and keeping good company. And as the happiest ranked country in the world year after year since the 60's, the Danes are undoubtedly the authority on what it means to be happy. In my experience as a kid, this came not just from having an abundance of baked goods and home cooked meals, but from the spirit of community that we founce by sharing the table with others. With my Grandparents open door policy, there was rarely a time friends and neighbours weren't gathered around. Lined with hot tea, baked goods and sandwiches at the start of each day for whomever would come around for a game of cards and a good chat, everyone was welcome to take part, and it was my Grandparents hope at the start each day that they'd spend it in the company of others. It wasn't until I was older that I really understood how unique this way of life was. The value of creating contentment and community wasn't something easy to find as a twenty something year old climbing the ranks of corporate hierarchy. And it wasn't until we found AlumiTubs that I reconnected with these values.

Josh and I were drawn to AlumiTubs because it represented everything my Dad had taught me about doing a job well. It was operated with integrity and hard work ethic, anever it lent itself to a hygge way of life. One that I felt uniquely qualified to help other families discover through the togetherness and pared down living a wood fired hot tub could offer. 

Eric and Wendy, the founders of AlumiTubs created their prototype out of a desire to improve upon the traditional cedar tubs that they found so much joy from on their property on Thomanby Island. They loved the concept of their cedar hot tub, but it was frought with problems like leaking, algae growth and decay, making it high maintenance to use, clean and winterize. So Eric applied the skills he learned as an aircraft fabricator to build the original aluminum wood fired hot tub. Solving the problems of traditional cedar hot tubs, AlumiTubs offered the known comforts of a wooden tub, with the improved functions they had been longing for. Low maintenance, lightweight and portable by boat access to their island, with three layers of heat retention to reduce the amount of wood used in the firebox and keep it at hot tubbing temperature for days at a time, the AlumiTub wood fired hot tub offered all of the functions cabin owners like Eric & Wendy needed, and with the same classic Canadian design they had grown to love.

Soon, their friends and neighbours wanted one too, and in 2001 they left their jobs and got to work attending trade shows across Canada to sell their cedar barrel hot tub in Canada to anyone who would stop and have a chat with them at the exhibition booth. Over the years they would thank each and every customer by handwritten card at Christmas time, and it was precisely this work ethic and care for others that really attracted Josh and I to the business. We can both remember them sharing letters customers had written to them, physical photographs that were sent by mail of families they had built AlumiTubs for, and all kinds of glowing feedback that went way beyond the quality of the tub, and all the way to how it improved their quality of life.

AlumiTubs was a home grown business built from good values and small town charm that we both craved to be a part of. As we found ourselves expecting our first child, AlumiTubs became the business in which we placed our roots, moving to the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Just a month before our first childs due date, we ended up in a town we had only visited once, and it soon became the place we call home. Growing both our business and family at the same time, we came to love small town coastal living.

As we got to work growing AlumiTubs from a 3-4 tub per week manufacturing business, I was still working full time leading a growth marketing team at Shopify. While raising a family together, it was mostly run by Josh with me working on our website and building its online presence in my spare time. Over the next few years we hired more staff, added square footage to our production facilities by moving equipment and materials into our home garage, and burned the midnight oil to produce more than twice the amount of tubs. The more families we served, the more we recognized there was more to what we were doing. With every thank you email and interaction with our customers, we could see that our wood fired hot tubs represented a whole lot more than a good soak. Each time we had a customer interaction and heard about their family, their property, and the experiences and memories they had made using one, it helped widen the path ahead, forging our purpose and direction one 'thank-you' note at a time. We couldn't help but feel incredible gratitude that there was always this common thread, even as we had expanded across North America: A wood fired hot tub was a means to connect. It would become a place to gather and to enjoy the company of others. Grandparents would write and send photos of their tub filled with grandkids, thanking us for offering a way to bring their family together at the cabin. AlumiTubs represented those Danish values that had taken root in me from an early age. The idea of inspiring hygge in families like ours became the fire beneath our feet, and we were committed to living up to my Dad's wisdom of "if there's a job worth doing, it's worth doing well".

As quintessential comfort, wood burning hot tubs are the very essence of hygge. They lend themselves to connection with nature, slow living, and to time well spent for the simple sake of enjoyment. It's not that deep of a thing, a hot tub, and yet, wood burning hot tubs have a special way of bringing us back to the basics. With a click of a button we can be in and out of an electric hot tub humming with jets and glaring lights at our feet. But with a wood fired hot tub, there's an elemental experience that brings us closer. Closer to nature. To oneself. And to one another. It's the gathering place for connected moments spent with family and friends, grounding us in nature and giving way to better living.

I'm not alone in saying a soak in our AlumiTub wood fired hot tubs is my way families favourite way to slow down and reconnect. We find fallen wood in the forest, fill the tub together and light the fire, spend time playing games outside while it heats, checking the thermometer and counting down the minutes until it rises to the perfect temperature for soaking in. Give me a home brewed coffee and a few candlesticks, and there's literally nothing more hygge I can think of. And since 2001, there's thousands of families with an AlumiTub who feel the same way.

Universally, there's something we share with our customers, and it's that we all want a way to disconnect from the busyness of our lives and find a way to get back to basics. We aren't subscribing to the notion that everything needs to be fast, automated or contemporary. There's a shared experience that connects us in a way of life that can't be found in the hustle and bustle of city living. For our family, it reminds us of who we're building our wood burning hot tubs for and grounds us in the way we choose to run our company. Over the past few years, there's been more demand for our wood burning hot tubs than we can meet, and we've grappled many times with the notion of expansion and all that it entails. Rather than farm out our production to a manufacturing facility, we've chosen to build a second shop on our own sustainably run farm. Rather than outsource our labour, we choose to employ people within our community. And rather than source cheaper materials from overseas, we choose to source local, high quality and sustainable materials from within our town that will endure decades of use, supporting our local economy while we do it. Despite efficiencies found in mass production or imported products that other wood fired hot tub companies benefit from, we choose to hand build each of our cedar hot tubs in our own shop where we know the hands that make it. Not only does it allow us to ensure each AlumiTub wood burning hot tub is made with precision, but because we believe in the power of supporting local, from keeping production of our wood fired hot tubs sustainable with limited transportation and zero packaging, to shaking our friends hand at the mill and employing real people rather than machinery.

It's the power of this community and small town way of business that gives us the satisfaction knowing we're doing right by others, and that we're building a business our kids will be proud to inherit. It really is about "doing the job well". We aren't bias in saying AlumiTubs wood fired hot tubs are second to none, and that's because we take such great care in producing them and treating customers as we'd like to be treated. Proundly small town, we build enduring wood fired hot tubs built to stand the test of time, that will never sit in a landfill, and that will be a hub of happiness and hygge in your family. At the centre of life at the cabin is an AlumiTub wood fired hot tub. From the customers we serve to the people we employ and the soil we operate our business on, we believe that this job we're doing is worth doing well. We appreciate our customers more than they know, and we thank you for supporting us in our small business. 

Learn more about what we do from Josh's point of view in this video below:

- Laura 

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