The nation’s most prolific pool remodeling firm has purchased a venerable Northern California builder.
Adams Pool Solutions of Pleasanton, Calif., officially acquired San
Jose-based Royal Pools of Santa Clara on Jan. 1, confirmed Tony
Adams, owner of Adams Pool Solutions.
The move significantly boosts Adams’ new-construction
portfolio, and comes in response to the influx of design-and-build
firms entering the renovation market, Adams said.
“Our new construction had dwindled in recent years, and this
fit into our business plan,” he added. “Royal Pools has
been here for 40 years, and they have a fantastic
Bill Shepherd Jr., who has been Royal Pools’ president and
owner since 1991, will remain with the company as a close
consultant, assuming design, construction and “lead
estimator” duties. Shepherd’s father founded Royal in
“Bill’s input will be huge, especially this first
year,” Adams said. “We’re both very excited, as
this will help expand Royal’s territory.”
In addition to opening up a new-pool market for Adams, the deal
also creates one of the largest pool construction and remodel
companies in the United States.
In addition, the Royal acquisition made sense for another reason:
Shepherd and Adams — contemporaries in age —
practically grew up together. Adams’ father started Earl
Adams Tile and Coping in the late 1950s, and forged a business
relationship with Bill Shepherd Sr. the following decade.
“Tony’s dad was one of my dad’s first
subcontractors,” Shepherd said. “Tony’s been our
tile and coping guy for as long as I can remember.”
In recent years, Shepherd had been considering slowing down or
selling the business, he said. So when he and Adams discussed the
prospect over lunch a few months back, the deal just fell into
With total residential construction revenues topping $21 million in
2009 ($18 million of that being renovation), Adams ranked No. 9
among Pool & Spa News’ list of Top Builders for 2010. The firm serves multiple
markets in Northern California, Nevada and Texas, and in the past
few years has launched operations in Mexico and Guam. It remodels
approximately 10,000 pools each year.
Royal Pools typically builds around 150 new pools annually, though
in recent years that number had fallen by about half, Shepherd
said. Still, the firm enjoys a stellar reputation, earning Diamond
Certified status from the American Ratings Corp., a regional
evaluation service based on customer satisfaction.
Though reports vary, experts estimate Northern California’s
new-construction market remains about 60 percent below the boom
years of 2005-06. And in the first half of 2010, the Golden State
as a whole saw a 13 percent dip in sales from the same period a
“It’s still a very soft market, to say the
least,” said Raymond Whitford, president of Lifetime Pools, a
Pool & Spa News Top Builder in nearby Palo Alto, Calif.
“It’s a struggle. There’s still cash in the Bay
area, but people remain apprehensive about loosening up the purse
strings. Still, I’m guardedly optimistic that 2011 will be an
improvement over the previous two years.”