POOLCORP has begun announcing their intention to increase prices. Letters have already begun to circulate within the industry. SCP announced price increases last month that would begin on May 3rd. An official statement from Robert Rankin, Vice President at Poolcorp sent out a letter to retailers this week. It explained the difficulty the company has had struggling to maintain pricing structures given the rising increases from the industries most popular vendors.
“The virus has hit shipping at the ports, in the air and at the freight terminals, and the simple “supply in demand” exercise means raw material increases are mounting and therefore vendors are being forced to respond. The latest example of this is the recent price increase announcements from Hasa, Pentair, Fluidra and Hayward. New pricing from these vendors is being sent to the industry now and will culminate with price increases effective at our branches on May 3, 2021.”ROBERT RANKIN – VICE PRESIDENT OF POOLCORP
Poolcorp Letter Announcing Price Increases
There is mounting concerns that increasing prices may destabilize many pool companies abilities to stay in business. Already many pool companies have been forced to switch to liquid chlorine instead of chlorine tablets. There is a huge valve shortage going on in the industry as well as many other vital components that have become scarce in light of enormous price gouging going on in the secondary markets.
Harold Evans owner of Orenda Technlogies described the current perception of the climate when he stated.. “I went into the parking lot of Poolcorp in Plano at 4:00pm and I was the only truck. Companies are taking large deposits on equipment that is unavailable which is a sign of the cash flow desperation. Nothing compares to this in my years since 1984.”
News impacting the Pool Industry
The big pool news this week going around Social Media unlikely enough coincided with Poolcorp’s notice to increase prices. With far reaching ramifications, a situation unfolding in the Middle East is predicted to only worsen the climate for increasing prices in the pool industry.
Recent events in the Suez Canal are currently complicating pricing and supply chain issues globally. Some 10% of the entire world’s trade goes through the shipping lane on a daily basis. There has been an Ever Given shipping tanker blocking Egypt’s busy Suez Canal for several days now. The delay effecting transport is expected to be costing the global economy some $10 billion dollars a day and may have unforeseen trickle down effects that impact the pool industry.
With recent factory closures, supply chain issues, freezing temperatures and price increases – many pool companies are wondering, will it get any better in 2021? Already many pool builders and service companies are feeling the financial crunch. Rising oil prices have seen fuel costs sky rocket for pool companies across the nation. The problem is now finally trickling down to the consumer level as companies are forced to pass along those price increases to home owners.
Online Scams Abound During Chlorine Shortage
News of the shortage on chlorine tablets has hit the mass media and prices have sky rocketed around the nation. A recent spate of price increase notices from some of the top distributors comes on the tail end of a particularly rough start to this years pool season.
Many pool companies are struggling to find essential supplies to build, repair and maintain swimming pools. Positive news like the rebuilding of the BioLab plant came too late to salvage this years shortage on dry chlorine products.
As the chlorine crunch continues, the shortage has begun to impact availability of a variety of essential chemicals including muriatic acid, according to Orenda Technologies.
Online Scams For Chlorine Tabs Growing in Frequency
As legitimate suppliers run out of inventory, consumers are turning to Amazon, Ebay, and a variety of online stores to try and purchase tablets. Unfortunately, a rash of online scams have popped up to capitalize on the pool supply shortages and, as a result, consumers have been getting ripped off with alarming regularity.
Trying to order chlorine tablets on Amazon produced an immediate search result where the top sponsored listings I saw are obvious scammers. The growing number of these scams is concerning. This type of activity represents a serious problem for the pool industry as well as consumers.
One consumer was none to pleased with her online purchase of chlorine tablets, believing she had purchased a 25 pound bucket of tablets based on the exorbitant price. Instead, she says she received her Amazon order which consisted of a small container of aspirin sized chlorine tablets.
Consumers need to be aware of what they are purchasing before they buy from any online retailer, particularly on non-pool supply websites. Online retail marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart carry pool chemicals but are notoriously slow to react to online scams. Some pool scammers operate multiple accounts at a time under a variety of different brands and it can be difficult for consumers to make a distinction on whether they are legitimate or not.
Needless to say, as the chlorine shortage continues, it’s more important than ever to not only fully vette your pool builder and pool service company, but your chemical supplier as well. Although distributors may be in short supply, purchasing from a reputatable and recognized pool supplier is always the best option.
BioLab Begins Rebuilding Plant
BioLab hopes to have their plant rebuilt by early 2022
Welcome news for the pool industry, BioLab’s Lake Charles, La. plant is currently being rebuilt almost a year after it was damaged by a terrible fire.
At a ceremony attended by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and work crews broke ground on the facility in late June.
A fire caused by Hurricane Laura rendered the plant completely inoperable in August of 2020. The BioLab factory was brought to the forefront of the national eye, as it quickly became apparent that the plant was a key source of the stabilized chlorine product trichlor. Experts quickly realized that its closure would greatly contribute to a considerable sanitizer shortage during the unprecedented COVID demand.
Officials from BioLab/KIK stated the company intends to make renovations to the site to optimize their investment.
“The $170-million investment that KIK is going to deliver on will improve and make this facility more efficient and flexible,” said KIK CFO Stephen Jackson. “It will be a state-of-the-art plant that will significantly increase our capacity.”
The plant is expected to reopen in early 2022, according to the manufacturer. “The shortage resulting from the shut-down of tour facility is impacting pool retailers and pool owners across the country and they are eagerly awaiting our plant to be operational and to fill the gap,” said BioLab President Jon Viner.
This news bodes well for the pool industry who have been beleagured with shortages this pool season and have faced rising prices from distributors. The reopening of the BioLab plant should move distribution channels towards equalizing prices on dry chlorine goods in time for the summer 2022 pool season.
Featured Image Credit: KLAX ABC News
PoolCorp Acquires Vak Pak Builders Supply
PoolCorp recently completed the aquisition of Vak Pak Builders Supply, a well known Jacksonville based distributor in Florida. Vak Pak is a distributor of pool equipment and supplies throughout north Florida and Georgia.
“The combination of Vak Pak Builders Supply’s contractor-focused customer base and PoolCorp’s product breadth and resources will provide regional pool building and service contractors expanded opportunities in a highly competitive market,” said David Sutherland, principal of Vak Pak, which was founded in 1973.
This latest acquisition comes after a major announcement back in April that PoolCorp would be acquiring Nashville-based Pool Source, LLC. That particular firm operates a large sales and distribution center in Nashville which serves Tennessee and southern Kentucky.
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