Image

One of Florida’s pioneers in gunite has announced his retirement and sold his company at auction.

Two months after owner Dale Alexander stepped away from the pool industry, Alexander Gunite and Concrete Co. and its assets sold at public auction for $1.3 million in December 2009.

The unnamed buyer, a real estate investor from Savannah, Ga., who purchased the 3-acre site, is not expected to resume operations. This will leave a number of Treasure Coast builders in need of a new gunite provider.

“I used him for 20 years and Alexander was always first-class,” said Ken Parker, owner of Ken Parker Pools in Hobe Sound, Fla. “Now we only have one major gunite company in south Florida … which is fine, but you always like to have a little competition.”

With 16 locations across the state, West Palm Beach’s Prestige Gunite remains the go-to service for area pool builders. Its presence, coupled with the economic downturn, created an increasingly difficult business environment for Alexander.

“I think with Prestige being the size it is, I don’t know if he could be competitive,” said Kevin Martz, owner of Harbor Bay Pools in Port St. Lucie, Fla. “The Treasure Coast area is probably one of the hardest hit in Florida.”

Dale Alexander leaves a legacy that spans more than four decades. After dabbling in pool construction in Phoenix and Detroit in the 1960s, he went completely into gunite sales in 1970, and moved to Florida to establish Alexander in 1983.

“He was pretty much a pioneer in building the gunite rigs,” said Art Allen, owner of A&G Concrete Pools in Fort Pierce, Fla., a Pool & Spa News Top Builder. “He was a machinist, so all of his rigs were handmade.”

Alexander’s Stuart, Fla.-based firm had 16 employees and an estimated $1 million to $2 million in annual sales, according to a Dun & Bradstreet report.