The mom-and-pop style suits the situation of some stores, while the branded style is better adapted to other business models. Here are a few points along that line.

The Neighborhood Store

The staff at Swim World Pools in Gallatin, Tenn. have worked hard to give their shop a local flavor, and to participate in their community. They survive competition from larger retailers — and from the Internet — by maintaining personal relationships with almost all their customers.

The Local Chain

Each location of the San Rafael, Calif.-based chain Herb’s Pool Service is tied together by some common elements, such as the logo, but store managers are encouraged to treat each individual location as its own mom-and-pop shop. Sales and marketing manager Laura Minor says many of her customers continue to recognize Herb’s as a family-owned business.

The Expanding Chain

As Patio Pools & Spas, a chain based in Tucson, Ariz., has moved into new markets, manager Dave McKibben has found that unifying a variety of store layouts under a single brand and logo has helped him keep customer loyalty. Building on that brand recognition, store managers tailor displays to the needs of local areas.

The Integrated Chain

For Frank May, president of A&M Distributors in Chattanooga, Tenn., each retail location of his chain The Pool Place is just one element of a multi-level company that includes construction and service branches. Because he sells many products and services under brand names he’s spent years building up, May makes sure each location clearly displays the logos his customers expect.