The co-owner of a prominent pool firm is taking his family’s good name from Phoenix to Music City, USA.
After serving as president of Rondo Pools and Spas for the past decade, Steven Rondeau has established a new company in the greater Nashville, Tenn., area.
“Our plan is to bring some of the energy-efficiency and design technology we’ve developed into that market,” Rondeau said.
The newly created firm, Rondo Pools, LLC, adds a reputable gunite builder to a region that at one time was dominated by vinyl-liner installations. Even today, Nashville remains vinyl-liner country, though concrete has claimed a substantial share of the pie, anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of current construction.
“There’s a lot happening in that area right now, and if he’s going anywhere, I think Nashville is a great place to be,” said Brian Worley, president/owner of Everclear Pool & Backyards Co. in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Nine years ago, Steven Rondeau and his brother, Kevin, bought Rondo Pools and Spas, a Pool & Spa News Top Builder, from their father Robert, who founded the company with his wife, Judy, in 1983.
With Steven as president and Kevin as vice president, Rondo built on its successful heritage to remain one of the Phoenix area’s leading pool businesses, building 477 residential pools in 2005. But Arizona has been one of the hardest-hit pool markets over the past few years, with new construction falling off by approximately 80 percent, according to various estimates.
By contrast, much of the South has remained relatively stable throughout the recession. And Nashville, which is home to scores of country music stars and professional athletes, is generally considered Tennessee’s high-rent district.
In fact, neighboring Williamson County consistently ranks among the nation’s wealthiest counties (Forbes listed it No. 17 in 2010), with a median household income of more than $88,000.
Also, the average price of a gunite pool in Nashville is about double that of one in Phoenix, builders say.
Much of that has to do with available labor, which is far more plentiful in Arizona; many Tennessee builders draw subcontractors from the Atlanta area, which adds to their cost.
As for Rondeau, he said the relocation was spurred by a mix of personal and professional factors, noting that a successful home builder who years ago made a similar migration helped convince him it was the right move.
Looking ahead, he said, “the goal over the next five years is to do 50 to 75 pools a year,” adding that he expects to begin operations by early February.