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, a home renovator, and farmer in the making. I grew up in the small town of Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island known for having one of the oldest populations in North America, moved to the big city in my early twenties 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 two 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 always say "if there's a job worth doing, it's worth doing well". As a kid, that meant taking my chores and homework seriously. And in business it means putting my best foot forward in everything we do. "If for no other reason" my Dad would say, "do it because you should. Do it for your own satisfaction". The lesson took root from an early age and has been a guiding principle in many areas of life, but most notably, it serves as a daily reminder to do all things for AlumiTubs to the best of our ability - not because someone's watching, but because we should. From building the very best wood fired hot tubs on the market, to treating each customer like a family friend, and protecting the planet from the materials we use and our manufacturing methods, to the shipment and operation of our wood fired hot tubs. It was the intrinsic belief that if there's a job worth doing, it's worth doing well, paired with my Danish heritage that helped shape everything we stand for today as an independently owned company.

In Denmark 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 thing, but if I were to describe it, I'd say it's a lifestyle of creating warmth, 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 gained by sharing it with others. With my Grandparents open door policy, there was rarely a time friends and neighbours weren't gathered round the table. 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 in downtown Vancouver. And it wasn't until we found AlumiTubs that I really found a way to reconnect with these family values of adopting hygge and community into my adult life. 

When I really began to think about what drew me to AlumiTubs, it was that it represented everything my Dad had taught me about doing a job well. Eric and Wendy Holtz created AlumiTubs 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 their cedar 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 comforts of a traditional cedar wood tub with the 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. In 2001 they left their jobs and got to work attending trade shows across Canada to sell their wood fired hot tubs 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 this work ethic and care for others that really attracted Josh and I to the business. It was this sort of home grown business built off of good values and small town living that we 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 and growing it and our family at the same time. 

As we got to work taking on AlumiTubs, 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 our online presence in my spare time. But it wasn't just my Dad's principles about a job worth doing is worth doing well that lit the fire beneath my feet to go all in. It was also those Danish values, the idea of inspiring hygge in families like ours, and my hunger to create a legacy for my own kids that called on me to explore the business more. Josh and I spent the first several years of owning AlumiTubs trying to place what exactly felt so good about it. Each time we had a customer interaction and heard about their family, their property, and the experiences they were either seeking with an AlumiTub, or memories they had already made using one, it helped widen the path ahead, forging our purpose and direction one thank you note at a time. 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. To nature. To oneself. And to one another. It becomes the gathering place for connected moments spent with family and friends, grounding us in nature and giving way to better living. 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.  

Universally, there's something about small town living that so many of us know and love. 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. With higher demand than we can meet, 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, supporting our local economy. 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.

"Doing the job well" means taking pride in every aspect of our family business. We build every AlumiTub wood fired hot tub with precision so that families on the receiving end will have it to cherish for decades to come. 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. Proudly small town, it's important to us that we carry on the values we picked up in our hometowns. 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.

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

- Laura