A group of pool contractors are the answer to one homeowners prayers. For years, Kitty Smitth, an 80-year old resident of Indianapolis, had dreamed of having an inground swimming pool for her 29 grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy. Smith had just recently used her life savings to purchase a home and property in South Indianapolis that she was hoping would allow her to finally realize those dreams.
Smith acknowledges that the home she purchased needed a lot of work inside, but held out hope of enjoying the backyard with her family. For Smith and her grandchildren, the backyard pool meant a safe haven from the dangers of the pandemic that was sweeping across the country last summer.
“They were here, swimming and playing. I can’t tell you how great that was. This has just been my dream my whole life,” she told reporters.
Future summer dreams would be put to an end this February when a winter storm caused her pool to collapse into a heap of disintegrating concrete and collapsed fiberglass walls. Smith was horrified to find that her backyard pool had collapsed in on itself in the night. “My whole body just started going numb and shaking. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” she told reporters.
An engineering report was conducted to determine the cause of the failure. Analysis determined that a leak may have contributed to its collapse. A new pool cover, which had just been installed, combined with the inadequate water level in the pool may have contributed to adding stress on the walls of the pool.
To add insult to injury, Smith quickly found out that her homeowners insurance would not cover the damage. Despite being a customer of the same company for over 40 years and having a policy that includes the replacement cost of an inground pool, her insurance company refused to pay a cent. They claimed her policy excluded any leak in the structure of the pool.
Smith was faced with an impossible problem. The cost of installing a new inground pool would be at least $60,000 plus an additional $20,000 for hauling away the debris from the old pool that had collapsed. “I just put everything into my house”, Smith told reporters, indicating that she didn’t have the financial resources to rebuild the pool. She stated that she felt like her insurance company had left her high and dry.
Smith contacted investigative reporters and discussed her problem with them. The reporters shared her story with some folks they knew in the pool industry that could help lend a hand. Ultimately, eight separate Indiana companies came together headed up under Automatic Pool Covers owner, Michael Shebek. Shebek pooled his resources and network to help put together a team that will help rebuild Smith’s backyard.
- Crone Customs Pools – Project Lead / Permits
- Only Alpha Pool Products – Donating Steel Walls
- Pools of Fun – Donating and installing the liner. Provide the water to fill the pool.
- Modish Pools – Donating concrete and labor to rebuild the decking
- Hendrick Pool and Lawn Service – Donating plumbing work for the pool
- C Ray Pools – Donating plumbing and electrical work.
- Automatic Pool Covers – Donating a new pool cover and providing other help.
- Cover Care – Donating installation of the pool cover
What is truly incredible about this story is that although some of the companies on this list are competitors, they are all united in the single goal to help one local resident recover the usage of her pool.
Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, Smith was greeted with the surprise of a lifetime. The contractors who have agreed to rebuild her pool at zero cost, showed up at her house along with the 13news team to break the good news. Overwhelmed with emotion, Smith hugged them all and said “I don’t know your names but I know your hearts,” telling the contractors, “I love you.”
Smith will hopefully have a new pool to enjoy with her grandchildren this summer. The contractors have all assured her that the unsightly mess in her backyard will be removed and a new pool installed. The entire cost of the project is estimated to cost approximately $90,000.
“Just no words. There aren’t words big enough to thank everyone,” Smith said. “I’m just so thankful.”
Claffey Pools Acquired by Riverbend Sandler Pools
The pool industry has seen a spate of recent acquisition announcements. The latest, being the recent acquisition of Claffey pools by Riverbend Sandler Pools. Backed by Chicago-based Concentric Equity Partners, they are continuing efforts to consolidate the swimming pool construction and maintenance industry in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
The acquisition agreement was signed on December 31, 2021 but only made public on Thursday. Full details about the exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This marks the third major pool builder purchased by the holding company, after acquiring Pulliam Pools back in November. The acquisition of the Fort Worth-based firm made it one of the nation’s largest pool construction companies.
This recent acquisition of Claffey Pools which is ranked within the nations top pool construction companies with about $32 million in reported residential construction revenue in 2020. A builder of high-end inground swimming pools, Claffey’s average pool project costs around $142,000.
Riverbend Sandler intends to make considerable advancements by acquiring existing service and maintenance companies, in addition to focusing on construction. Consequently, they hope to become a key service provider in the state’s pool service and maintenance sector.
This in itself appears to be a key decision point for the Claffeys who are looking to expand their pool service and maintenance divisions. Last year’s Texas Pool freeze caused unprecedented amounts of damage across the Lone Star state and saw Claffey perform over 1,000 repairs as a result.
In regards to any restructuring of the organization, the Claffeys, along with their 95 employees, will remain with the company. Riverbend Sandler has announced its intentions to continue its expansion. It will continue to concentrate on Texas, for the time being, looking seriously to expand into the Austin, Houston, and San Antonio markets after having established the predominant marketshare in the Dallas area.
GENESIS Announces Newest Platinum Sponsor: Pool Magazine
(Alexandria, Va.) – GENESIS is pleased to announce its newest Platinum Sponsor, Pool Magazine. The GENESIS sponsorship program showcases companies that are dedicated to the highest standards of best practices, quality, and ethics in the pool and spa industry.
“We look forward to collaborating with PHTA and expanding our relationship as a Platinum Sponsor,” says Joe Trusty, CEO & Editor-in-Chief. “We are excited for this next chapter and look forward to making a positive impact on the industry.”
As a Platinum Sponsor, Pool Magazine will have the opportunity to maximize its brand visibility, connect with thousands of engaged industry professionals, and unlock valuable opportunities.
“We are delighted to add Pool Magazine to our distinguished list of Platinum Sponsors,” says Janay Rickwalder, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations of PHTA. “Pool Magazine has everything we look for in a partner: quality services that can benefit our members, an understanding of the importance of continuing education, and a finger on the pulse of industry trends. I am excited for this collaboration and to working together in 2022.”
For more information, please contact Janay Rickwalder, PHTA’s Vice President of Communications and Public Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.357.3918.
About the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), a non-profit organization with nearly 3,500 members from around the world, was established in 1956 to support, promote, and protect the common interests of the $36.5B pool, hot tub and spa industry. PHTA provides education, advocacy, standards development, research, and market growth to increase our members’ professionalism, knowledge and profitability. Additionally, PHTA facilitates the expansion of swimming, water safety and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit www.phta.org.
Riverbend Sandler Pools Announces Acquisition Of Pulliam Pools
PLANO, Texas, Nov. 29, 2021 — Riverbend Sandler Pools (“Riverbend”), the leading residential pool construction, service, and maintenance provider in the Dallas – Ft. Worth metroplex, and a portfolio company of Concentric Equity Partners (“CEP”), announced the acquisition of Pulliam Pool Builders Inc. and Pulliam Services Inc. (together “Pulliam” or the “Company”), a Ft. Worth, TX-based provider of pool construction, remodeling, and repair services. Riverbend will be acquiring Pulliam from President, Owner, and long-term pool industry veteran Debra Smith, who will remain with the Company for an intermediate period and subsequently transition to a strategic consulting role for the platform.
Pullam Pools is a leading residential pool construction brand in the western DFW market and a PSN Top 50 Builder for nineteen consecutive years. Pulliam was founded in 1916 as a family construction business and was one of the first pool construction companies in the U.S. After three generations of family ownership, the Company was purchased by President Debra Smith and a partner in 2009; Debra assumed full ownership in 2020. Debra originally joined Pulliam in 1992 and has continued to grow the business and its strong reputation for quality over a 29-year journey. Riverbend plans to maintain the legacy and well-respected Pulliam brand name and retain all Pulliam employees.
“Pulliam has flourished under Debra’s leadership and grown to become one of the largest pool builders in DFW,” said Charles Barnes, Founder and Chairman of Riverbend Sandler. “Debra has built an impressive company with a trusted and recognized brand name, and we’re honored to carry her legacy forward”.
“My primary focus in this process was finding a partner like Riverbend Sandler that would continue to build on the success and trust of the Pulliam name,” said Debra Smith. “We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Riverbend Sandler and CEP teams and are excited by their plans to aggressively invest to grow the business and continue providing opportunities for our employees.”
“Pulliam differentiates and has enjoyed strong success through a relentless focus on serving its customers and employees,” said Riverbend Sandler CEO Bruce Mungiguerra. “We’re excited to continue building the Pulliam name and see tremendous opportunity in combining these two great businesses”.
Adam Lucas, Vice President at CEP, adds: “We have tremendous respect for what Debra has built over many years and the success she has achieved with Pulliam”. “We’re honored she chose us to lead the Pulliam platform forward and excited to partner with her leadership team”.
About Pulliam Pools:
Headquartered in Ft. Worth, TX, and serving the western half of the DFW Metroplex, Pulliam is a premier provider of residential pool construction, renovation, and repair services. Founded in 1916, Pulliam is one of the first and oldest pool construction companies in the U.S. and is a recognized leader for quality and custom design in the industry. Pulliam is the continuation of a family construction business and was purchased by industry veteran Debra Smith in 2009 after three generations of family ownership.
For more information on Pulliam, visit www.pulliam.com.
About Riverbend Sandler Pools:
Headquartered in Plano, TX, Riverbend Sandler is the leading residential pool construction, service, and maintenance provider in Dallas Fort Worth. The Company differentiates through its specialized and high-touch design process, commitment to quality craftsmanship and customer service, and established track record of success. The Company was founded by Charles Barnes in 1981 and grown over a successful period of more than four decades to become one of the largest pool builders in the Southwest U.S. Riverbend Sandler’s guiding philosophy has always been: “Don’t cut corners. Take a little more time to build it right and never compromise quality craftsmanship.”
For more information on Riverbend Sandler, visit www.riverbendsandler.com.
About Concentric Equity Partners:
Concentric Equity Partners is a private investment firm that partners with leading middle market companies by providing capital and strategic advisory to accelerate long-term value creation. Concentric’s approach is simple: support entrepreneurs and operators by providing the resources required to achieve extraordinary results. The firm’s investment team is made up of individuals with distinguished track records as operators and professional investors across a variety of growth-oriented middle-market companies.
Concentric Equity Partners is the direct investing arm of Financial Investments Corporation, a private asset management firm and family office with over $2 billion in investment commitments under management. Financial Investments Corporation was founded in 1994 by father and daughter Harrison and Jennifer Steans and has been partnering with private companies for more than 25 years.
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