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Pool Builders Picking Up The Pieces for Olympus Pools Customers

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Pool Magazine reported about the situation with Olympus Pools roughly 10 months ago when news coverage began to hit the media. It was a story that captured the attention of the nation due to the sudden spike of interest in inground pools during the pandemic. Olympus Pools was a highly respected and well-reviewed pool company that had apparently left hundreds of homeowners high and dry with open holes in their backyard and no way to complete their pool projects.

We spoke with the owner of Olympus Pools – James Staten as well as affected homeowners early on during the initial turmoil circling Olympus Pools. In the following months, we monitored the progression of events in the media until Olympus Pools was shut down completely by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. This happened after the Florida Attorney General received over 200 complaints and estimated net losses to Tampa homeowners to be in the neighborhood of $8 million dollars. Today, Olympus Pools faces a $1.4 million dollar penalty as a result.

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That’s not the end of the trouble though, aside from being forced to file for bankruptcy, SCP obtained a $1 million judgment against the Statens in September which allowed them to freeze and garnish the money in their personal bank account. To make matters worse, in addition to the civil actions, the Attorney General says the Office of Statewide Prosecution is assisting local law enforcement with a criminal investigation against Staten.

Picking Up The Pieces For Olympus Pools Customers

After the recent implosion of the company, hundreds of homeowners and contractors were left holding the bag and trying to figure out what comes next. For the homeowners, the answer isn’t so simple. Finding a pool builder that can complete the work and finish their swimming pool project has been a challenge for many. Some of the members at the FSPA, like Tony Arredondo (FSPA, Tampa Bay Chapter – Director at Large) have been working diligently to try and connect those homeowners that have been affected with local pool construction firms that can try and help salvage those jobs.

Tampa Pool Contractors Step In

We had the chance to speak recently with Arredondo and his colleague Jacob Schroth to find out how they’ve been working with local homeowners to try and salvage some of the abandoned jobs.

A permanent fixture in the Tampa community, Arredondo is the owner of Tampa Pool Pro and has been performing swimming pool renovations in the local area since 2010. Like many in the industry, Arredondo had seen the swirling news coverage about Olympus Pools. We asked him what has happened in the Tampa market in the wake of the fallout.

“It’s left a bad taste with most potential new swimming pool homeowners, and even some pool renovation clientele. Most that are familiar with the Olympus Pool situation, are very hesitant about deposits, payments, work getting done, and communication,’ said Arredondo.

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Working With Olympus Pools Customers

Little by little as homeowners look to pick up the pieces of their project, they’ve been reaching out to local pool renovation experts like Tampa Pool Pro. Consequently, Arredondo has been applying the communications tools his firm uses when working with former Olympus Pools customers. “When assessing the call, we handle them with kid gloves,” said Arredondo, “we make sure they have everyone’s phone numbers and have numerous communication options, such as our mirroring text service app that allows everyone on the job to see each and every text that comes in.” 

Customers Say There Was Zero Communication

Lack of communication was a complaint Arredondo heard again and again from customers having little to no idea as to the progress of their build.  “No one was returning their calls, and it was weeks and months before hearing from an assigned Project Manager for their build–if they heard anything at all,” said Arredondo.

That lack of communication and the practice of overselling and under-delivering is what gets pool builders in hot water again and again said Arredondo who explained that avoiding customers’ questions and complaints is a sure-fire recipe for the type of disaster Olympus Pools experienced.

“The communication between us and the client is of utmost importance,” said Arredondo, “most do not expect you to be on the job site daily–micromanaging your team.  However, they do expect you to keep in touch with them and return their calls, or send them a quick text message or email.  We set that expectation with every client. There’s absolutely no excuse, period. Education and good communication create trust.”

Abandoned Pools Need Thousands of Dollars in Renovation Work

There is still a ton of work to be done on many of these pools Arredondo is looking at. Often homeowners are looking at a bill of tens of thousands of dollars to complete their backyard pool project. This uncomfortable fact comes after paying most for most of their pool project upfront with Olympus.

Many of these pools are abandoned jobs that have been exposed to the elements for months before a contractor has had a chance to review the work that has been done. Still, Arredondo says he is eager to work with the ones intent on finishing their pool project. “We walk them through the deposit schedules and educate them on the scope of work needed for completion,” said Arredondo, “this includes the processes and timeframes. We have a 100% success rate with the clients we’ve worked with and have completed their projects in a timely manner. It’s really helping to restore their faith in the swimming pool industry.”

Advice For Homeowners Looking for a Pool Builder

In helping Tampa homeowners find a reliable pool builder to work with, Arredondo had some suggestions to help prevent homeowners from falling victim to fraud, “I would highly recommend researching pool companies they are calling and performing thorough due diligence,” explained Arredondo, “call the City/County/State agencies, research their license to see if they have complaints.”

Reading the online reviews for a business does not give homeowners accurate and up-to-date information about that company claims Arredondo who opined that in today’s digital world, consumers are looking at online reviews and getting half a story or a completely fictional one in some cases.

He says that reading a companies Google reviews doesn’t always offer a complete picture of how reputable that pool contractor is. “Olympus Pools had an impeccable reputation in the state of Florida until just a few months of complaints hitting the media. While the state started receiving complaints, they did not show up online right away,” said Arredondo.

Arredondo has been coordinating with pool contractors from around the Tampa region to help finish some of these jobs. “That’s the beautiful thing about the pool industry. There is so much work for everyone,” said Jacob Schroth who has been working closely with Arredondo, “There is no competition between us and when there’s a problem within our industry we are able to all fix it together.”

While the majority of homeowners are still looking to the district attorney’s office for a final resolution and compensation, that process may take years to fully see the course. For those homeowners who are ready to pick up the pieces, it’s refreshing to see some of these completed projects. One year after all of the negative attention and bad publicity this has created the process of healing can begin for those homeowners. Eager to make a difference in their community, Arredondo and Schroth know that re-establishing that trust with consumers and the pool industry is absolutely vital in Tampa.

5/5 - (16 votes)

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Chlorine Prices Continue To Go Up This Summer

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Chlorine Prices Continue To Soar

With no relief in sight, chlorine prices continue to soar as costs keep rising for pool chemicals this summer. Since almost the very start of the pandemic prices for pool sanitizers like chlorine have nearly doubled and at the retail level consumers are paying nearly triple what they were before the end of 2020.

What Caused Prices To Go Up?

Soaring costs for fuel, rising inflation, and a litany of other factors such as logistical delays and workforce shortages have plagued the pool industry. A factory closure due to a fire at one of the nation’s largest producers of dried chlorine products certainly did not help matters.

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BioLab, the manufacturer in question is spending $170 million dollars on rebuilding their plant after it burnt to the ground during Hurricane Laura. While many pool professionals were hoping that the plant would be back online in time to impact and offset summer chlorine prices, a series of delays related to a second hurricane has pushed back operations. Consequently, any impact BioLab’s production would have had on this year’s chlorine supply is now a moot point.

Will Chlorine Prices Go Back Down?

Industry pundits and analysts know what caused prices to spike. That’s never been the issue. The question that remains to be answered: When will chlorine prices go back down? The answer is, they won’t.

While chlorine prices are expected to stabilize somewhat within the next year, rising costs, inflation, and an increase in consumer demand will keep chlorine prices high well into next summer and the immediate, foreseeable future.

Exactly how much have Chlorine prices increased?

Chlorine like many other chemicals is a commodity. As such the prices for chemical commodities are clearly viewable from various credible sources. The price index for Alkalies and Chlorine, Including Natural Sodium Carbonate and Sulfate, reached a record high of 483.79600 in May of 2022. As we progress later into the summer and prices are predicted to continue to rise and blow away analysts’ forecasts.

Price of Chlorine - source: tradingeconomics.com
Price of Chlorine – source: tradingeconomics.com

In response to a changing market, many pool professionals began to switch to liquid chlorine and alternative sanitizing methods to help offset operational costs. Consequently, these materials have also increased in price over the last year and a half. Exactly how high have prices gone?

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Financing options are available for purchasing chlorine tablets.
Financing options are available for purchasing tablets.

Well let’s put it this way, you can finance a 50-pound $449 bucket of Bromine tablets for just $41 bucks a month if you buy it from Leslie’s, on Amazon you’ll pay $498 if you can find them in stock. That we’re at a state that necessitates the need for consumers to be able to finance a bucket of tablets, is a pause for reflection on exactly how high prices have gone up.

The price of a 50 pound bucket of chlorine tablets is now almost $500 on Amazon.
The price of a 50 pound bucket of tablets is now almost $500 on Amazon.

4.7/5 - (15 votes)

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3D Printed Pools Ready To Hit The Market

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3D Printed Pool by San Juan Fiberglass Pools

San Juan Pools is ready to usher in the era of 3D-printed pools. The fiberglass pool manufacturer were on Fox & Friends yesterday demonstrating the first-ever 3D printed fiberglass swimming pool.

The advent of 3D printing promises to lower the cost for building homes, and it would seem that the same holds true for swimming pools. With dealerships all over the United States, San Juan Pools has been operating its family-owned business for almost 65 years. As one of the largest manufacturers of fiberglass pools, the 3D printed pool is a first for the pioneers.

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World’s First 3D Printed Fiberglass Pool Hits The Streets of Manhattan

San Juan shipped their Baja Beach model up to midtown Manhattan where Bedell explained the technology behind 3d printing a swimming pool and allowed hosts to sample the product, so to speak.

The 3D printed pool features a hot tub for 8 people and a sloped beach entry that can be installed in or above ground. Features you’d find in a custom inground swimming pool Bedell explained the exciting aspect of 3D printing a swimming pool means “they can make it any shape they want.”

The Future of 3D Printed Swimming Pools

Home improvement expert Skip Bedell, explained that San Juans new 3d printed pools can be produced in a matter of days and are made from completely recyclable materials.

“So, when they’re done, they can put it through a plastic shredder and reuse those plastic pellets,” Bedell said, referencing the product’s end life and consumer disposal.

Bedell explained that San Juan Pools shift towards adapting massive printing technology stemmed from its partnership with an advanced manufacturing company called Alpha Additive. Bedell explained that no other pool manufacturer currently has the technology or machinery to create these pool products, which currently leaves them as the sole 3D printer of fiberglass pools in the industry.

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4.7/5 - (22 votes)

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Coach Saves Swimmer Who Fainted At World Championships

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Coach Andrea Fuentes Saves Swimmer Anita Alvarez Who Fainted While Competing at World Championships in Budapest

‘Hero coach saves swimmer’ was the headline splashed all over the news today. After losing consciousness during the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, American swimmer Anita Alvarez was rescued from drowning at the bottom of the pool by coach Andrea Fuentes.

On Wednesday, Fuentes dived into the water after seeing the 25-year-old artistic swimmer plummet to the bottom of the women’s solo free event.

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Coach Indicated Life Guards Slow To React

Andrea Fuentes, coach to two-time Olympian Anita Alvarez, told Spanish newspaper Marca that she dived in to haul the 25-year-old to the surface because no one else lifted a finger to do so.

“I jumped into the water because I saw that no one, no lifeguard, was diving in,” she said.

The dramatic rescue unfolded when Ms Alvarez was participating in the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Wednesday night.

This wasn’t the first time that Fuentes has come to Alvarez’s rescue. During an Olympic qualification event last year, a similar incident occurred where Fuentes leaped into action to her and swim partner, Lindi Schroeder to safety.

Who is Andrea Fuentes?

Fuentes is a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming and the most decorated swimmer on the Spanish National Team. The world champion rescued Alvarez from the bottom of the pool and swam her to the surface before swimming her to safety at the edge of the pool.

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“I got a little scared because she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine,” Fuentes told news sources.

Swimmers often hold their breath for long periods of time as a way to develop their lung capacity but never defy medical advice, according to their instructor, who explained that the occurrence was not out of the ordinary in the sport of swimming.

Fuentes became concerned when she observed Alvarez’s feet appeared paler than usual toward the end of her routine on Wednesday. While Alvarez was descending instead of ascending to take a breath, she dove in.

Coach saves swimmer after fainting in pool
Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Swim Coach Saves Swimmer, Quick To Respond To Distress

Fuentes remarked, “I was already paying attention, and then I saw her sliding down. In the end, “I didn’t even ask myself if I should go or not, I just thought that I was not going to wait.”
“I know Anita very well and I know the sport very well.” Fuentes replied when asked if she thought lifeguards were too slow to respond to the incident.

Coach Saves Swimmer – Says ‘I Did My Job’

Fuentes concluded by saying, “They did their job, I did mine,” The sport’s governing body, the International Swimming Federation (FINA), did not react to calls for comment on reaction speed of the rescue.

After what it called a “medical emergency.” FINA said in a statement on Thursday that it has been in contact with Alvarez, her teammates, and her medical personnel. In the words of the release, “Ms. Alvarez was immediately treated by a medical team in the venue and is in good health,”

Oli Scarff, the underwater photographer who used a remote robotic camera to capture the breathtaking images of the rescue, told reporters that he heard noise as he was looking at his computer toward the end of Alvarez’s routine. He observed the swimmer at the bottom of the pool on the screen of the robotic camera.

Hero swim coach Andrea Fuentes saves unconsious swimmer Anita Alvarez after she fainted in swim competition in Budapest
Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

According to the photographer, it was “It was kind of a shocking thing to see because as soon as I looked back down at the robotic camera I had this kind of clear view of the scene while everyone in the arena was watching it through the surface of the water,” as he put it.

At first Scarff was capturing “beautiful” images of a “amazing” athlete in action, only to find himself “in a heartbeat” photographing “a near-death situation.” “Actually, I was rather rattled up by the whole thing.

Swimmer Says She’s Ready To Compete on Friday

“The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc. All is fine,” Fuentes stated. Other high-endurance sports, such as running and cycling, also experience this.” Whether it’s a marathon, a bike race, or a cross-country race, we’ve all seen photographs of racers who didn’t make it to the finish line being helped by others. Swimming is just like any other activity in that we push ourselves to our limits and sometimes find them.”

5/5 - (1 vote)

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