Editor’s Note: Mission Valley Pools & Spas is not affiliated with Escondido, Calif.-based Mission Pools.
Update: Mission Valley Pools & Spas filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy June 20. Court documents filed by company President Robert Cunningham listed 50 pool and/or spa projects that had not been completed. According to the papers, the builder owed just under $207,000 to PoolCorp. In addition to the PoolCorp debt, approximately $266,000 appears to be owed to subcontractors and suppliers. The papers listed a total of $902,000 owed to creditors with unsecured non-priority claims.
One of the largest pool building companies in the San Diego area abruptly closed its doors in early June.
Mission Valley Pools & Spas, a Pool & Spa News Top Builder, is said to have left projects incomplete, with subcontractors in the area reportedly being approached by homeowners looking to finish their pools.
In early June, the Contractors State License Board received five complaints about the company, charging abandonment, willful or fraudulent act, failure to pay for materials or services, and diversion or failure to account for funds. The agency is currently investigating those complaints and has reopened another filed at the end of last year.
A source close to Mission Valley reported hearing of at least 10 such pools, but said the count may reach closer to 30. The source also stated that certain company employees may be trying to assist at least some clients.
Calls to Mission Valley’s offices were not returned.
At least three subcontractors are known to have been left unpaid, and the company’s sudden closure has some reconsidering their work and bill collection policies.
California Plumbing is reportedly owed $15,000 by Mission Valley, even though the firm received two payments after the builder closed, according to Robert Currier, president of the Lakeside, Calif., subcontractor. Since the economy went south, he said, he’s been left with a total of $400,000 in outstanding bills because of builders shutting down.
“My retirement is gone,” Currier said. “I’m 64 now, so I’ll just keep working until I can’t work anymore. But a lot of this happened just because of the economy. It’s my own fault for letting people get so stretched out.”
Though some are surprised that a firm of Mission Valley’s size would close this far into the recession, some in the area say it’s remained an uphill battle.
“Last year was a lot tougher for us than any other year we’ve had,” said Rob Ault, president of Pacific Sun Pool & Spa, also a Pool & Spa News Top Builder in San Diego. “I have to assume it was the same for the other companies in this town.”
On its Pool & Spa News Top 50 application form, Mission Valley reported 102 excavations and just under $7.5 million in total revenue in 2011.
Local permit data indicates that Mission Valley filed for 68 projects in San Diego County, for a 9 percent market share in 2011. However, that number wouldn’t include permits pulled by others on behalf of the builder, including landscape professionals and architects.
That number was up slightly from 2009 and 2010, when Mission Valley pulled 63 and 66 permits, respectively.
These figures were provided by Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, a research firm supplying information on housing and related markets. HWMI is owned by the parent company of Pool & Spa News.