After decades in the Golden State, one of the industry’s leading buying groups is leaving California.
The Aquatech Society of Pool Building and Retailing Professionals notified members in early November of plans to move its headquarters from Costa Mesa, Calif., to Las Vegas. The transfer, which will include most corporate staff, is expected to be completed in fall 2012.
“It was almost completely a financial issue,” said Rob Morgan, an Aquatech board member and co-owner of Sunbelt Pools in Dallas. “Everyone loves Southern California, but it didn’t make sense to keep operating a place that had become so expensive. The taxes, regulations and cost of living made it prudent to look for other places to do business that would benefit our members.”
Aquatech had owned and occupied a multistory facility in Costa Mesa since 2007. Prior to that, the group was based in nearby Huntington Beach. But early this year the board of directors decided to begin exploring less expensive, out-of-state alternatives.
The possibilities included Arizona and Texas, but in the end Las Vegas was deemed most desirable for its significantly lower overhead costs and ready access for vendors, as well as Nevada’s lack of corporate or personal income taxes, Morgan said.
Board members were unanimous in their support for the new location, he added.
Following the vote in late spring, officials took advantage of a depressed real estate market and purchased a new building in the Summerland area on the west side of town. The single-story facility will be built out over the next several months, and plans call for an on-site educational space, something the current building was lacking.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Sandy Ewing, a longtime Aquatech board member and president of Ewing Aquatech Pools in Baton Rouge, La. “It’s going to be a very good move for us.”
At San Diego-based Pacific Sun Aquatech, company Vice President Cia Barron, was equally upbeat about the news.
“We think it’s a good thing because they’re doing it to save money,” she said. “I don’t anticipate any inconvenience or difference in how they operate. They’ve given us great service from California, and I’m sure they will continue to do so from Las Vegas.”
Founded in 1962, Aquatech is a member-supported association of approximately 250 aquatic design professionals and retail pool store operators.