As part of an ongoing, aggressive growth strategy, the industry’s largest retailer has added a commercial pool supply and service firm to its portfolio.
Leslie’s Poolmart this month finalized the acquisition of Jasper’s Clear Pool Wholesale Supply Co. The Phoenix-based business is a provider of pool chemicals and equipment, as well as offering installation and repair services to hotels, apartment buildings, schools and other public facilities throughout the region. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We’re always very selective with these opportunities,” said Steven Ortega, executive vice president/CFO of Leslie’s, also headquartered in Phoenix. “But when you find operators like [Jasper’s] with a proven track record and strong customer service, those become attractive to us.”
Leslie’s strategy of consistent growth received a boost last summer when private equity firm CVC Capital Partners purchased an undisclosed number of minority shares in the company. Currently, Leslie’s has 688 retail stores and service centers in 35 states.
The firm opened 30 new retail locations in 2010 and is planning to add nearly 50 stores in 2011.
To date, the commercial market represents just a fraction of its overall sales — no more than 2 percent, company officials estimated.
However, this latest acquisition could mark a significant growth area for the future, in Arizona and beyond.
“[Leslie’s] is king of the backyard pool,” said Fred Burkhardt, owner of Jasper’s. “For expansion, they’re going to look at the commercial world. And we’re the aftermarket for commercial.”
In fact, Burkhardt placed his company’s market share in the realm of 75 percent.
It’s estimated there are 9,500 commercial pools in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix metro.
Jasper’s has 21 employees and also offers training for commercial pool operators, including compliance with various health codes and regulations. The staff will continue with Leslie’s, officials said.
Currently, Jasper’s occupies a primary facility in Phoenix and another in Tucson, but eventually operations will be consolidated under one roof. Burkhardt plans to help Jasper transition to the new ownership and then retire from the industry, he said.