Tom Saldarelli's view of the economy is simple. "There's a lack of confidence [in the economy] right now fostering a reluctance to spend," says the CEO of RehaMed International in Homestead, Fla. "That impacts discretionary spending on every level."

Within the aquatics industry, he believes this is forcing operators to do more with less, and manufacturers to alter their business strategies to operate in the new economy. Today it's all about getting creative and "sweating the small stuff" because every dollar counts.

Even if the economy remains slow this year, Saldarelli believes the industry will come out stronger as a result.

"Adversity challenges us to be better, and we need to look at if from that standpoint," he says, adding that as an industry "these tough times will require operating with the utmost efficiency. Above all, we need to maintain a positive attitude to take advantage of any and all opportunities."