"The product was awesome, we didn't need to really change anything, what we needed to do was introduce it to more dealers and we did that," Mouw said. "At our first dealer conference we sold 80 units our first weekend, which was more business [than employees] had seen in years."
Mouw said the business model has changed entirely. "It's really mushroomed," he said.
Almost Heaven Saunas can be found on websites including Costco and Cabela's. Saunas sell through direct sales to customers, international accounts and at trade shows both internationally and throughout the United States.
The saunas -- which range in price from almost $4,000 to $12,000 -- are sold in a number of designs but the Renick-based company is known for its barrel design.
The circular sauna is made of western Canadian red cedar, which doesn't decay and is soft, Alderman said.
Almost Heaven Saunas has always been known for a quality, handcrafted product, but Mouw has been the exact salesman the company needed to pick up sales again, said Jonathan Alderman, an employee of five years.
"Rick has been the backbone of our company," Alderman said as he sanded a sauna door. "[The product] wouldn't go out if we didn't build them but they wouldn't sell if Rick wasn't such a great salesman."
Darrell Alderman, Jonathan Alderman's uncle, agreed.
"We have always had a reputation of producing a quality product but as far as the increase in sales and exposure, I got to hand it to Rick," Darrell Alderman said. "The change in marketing was an evolution in improvements."
The company's most recent change is the introduction of the Blue Ridge Sauna, an indoor-only sauna that is a square design.
Mouw said he challenged his eight employees, including Darrell Alderman -- who came up with the design -- to create a sauna specifically for indoors.
Darrell Alderman's design features multi-level benches -- "a biggie in a sauna because if you want to be in hotter air, you sit on a taller bench," he said. The Blue Ridge sauna launched Dec. 21 and they are already sold out, Mouw said.
Almost Heaven Saunas offered the Blue Ridge sauna special only on Costco's website. The Internet "has been huge for" the company, but more for brand awareness than sales, Mouw said.
Mouw said he is confident about Almost Heaven Saunas' future. He will continue to market the "saunas that sell themselves" internationally, too. The company has scheduled trade shows this year in Brazil, Canada and Spain.
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.